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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Former Russian commander hovers over ‘civil war’ while beating Putin’s forces

Former Russian commander Igor Girkin has pitched a “civil war” as a possible solution to Moscow’s difficult invasion of Ukraine in a new Telegram post, in which he criticized the Kremlin’s military leadership.

Girkin’s latest comments come more than a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Although Putin initially hoped for a quick victory over Kiev, which has a smaller military than Russia, Ukraine has responded with a stronger than-anticipated defense effort, bolstered by Western military aid and dulling Putin’s forces.

After months of fighting and a lack of clear progress on the Russian side, some Russian military pundits are becoming increasingly critical of the country’s military leadership, who they blame for Ukraine’s success in retaking formerly occupied territories.

Meanwhile, Girkin, a self-proclaimed Russian nationalist who rose to prominence during Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, has become one of Putin’s most vocal critics. While Girkin has expressed support for the invasion’s goals, he has slammed the Kremlin in recent months.

The former military commander, who has been charged by Ukraine with terrorism, took to Telegram on Saturday to share his recent attack on the Russian military. He called Russian deputy general Andrei Kartapolov a “fool” and suggested that military responsibilities be divided between local communities.

“But the idea is in the air: In order to protect against terrorists and air raids in each community, it is necessary to raise their own armies, since our nationwide armed forces are not doing their job,” Girkin wrote.

Noting that there is historical precedent for such a division, he questioned whether the nation could “repeat” past civil wars.

“It happened before – in the last civil war,” he wrote. “Hundreds of self-defense units and simple gangs fought among themselves and with the states that arose and disappeared on the territory of the former Russian Empire. Can we repeat?”

Girkin gave no specific details about what this planned “civil war” would look like, but in January he warned of a possible civil war within Russia that could end in “millions of casualties.”

‚ÄúThere are all kinds of civil wars. There are civil wars that will kill our country in three days in winter. And it will be over in three days, but it will kill the country,” Girkin said in a clip posted to Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Interior Minister of Ukraine.

Mark Feygin, a former State Duma deputy and human rights lawyer, said earlier news week This defeat of Russia could lead to a civil war in which different political factions and regions would likely vie for control of the great Eastern European nation.

news week has asked the Russian Defense Ministry and foreign policy analysts for comment.

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