Today the Moscow Court sentenced Igor Strelkov (Girkin), a former Donetsk separatist’s commander and FSB reserve colonel, to 4 years for extremist calls.
Earlier, the prosecution requested for Strelkov a punishment of 4 years 11 months in a general regime colony. The maximum term under this article is 5 years of imprisonment. The court sessions were held behind closed doors.
Igor Strelkov, who criticized the Russian authorities and the course of the war in Ukraine from radically anti-Ukrainian positions, was detained last July. Since then, he had been kept in a pre-trial detention center in Moscow. He was reportedly accused of calling for extremism amid two posts in his Telegram channel. One of them contained the phrase “It’s not enough to shoot them down for this” - it concerned officials who, in Strelkov’s opinion, prevented monetary payments to war veterans. The investigation considered it a call to extremism. Strelkov pleaded not guilty.
In December, in an interview to The Base, Strelkov said he had expected a guilty verdict and imprisonment “for an indefinite time period”.
Arrested for extremist calls, Strelkov announced his candidacy for the Russian presidency, but his supporters failed to hold a nomination meeting. Allegedly, no notary agreed to attend it.
In Ukraine, Strelkov was prosecuted under articles on terrorism, murder, torture and state sovereignty violation. In the Netherlands, he was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for his involvement in the Malaysian Boeing crash in the skies over Donbas in 2014. 298 people were killed then. Strelkov pleaded not guilty, constantly repeating the phrase: “The militia did not shoot the Boeing down” without saying who, in his opinion, did it (the court considered that the plane was shot down by a Buk missile belonging to the Russian army; official Moscow denies this).
In 2014, Strelkov led a detachment of Russian citizens, supported by local separatists, to seize the city of Slavyansk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region - from that point the fighting in Donbass actually began. He subsequently fell into disgrace with the Russian authorities. Strelkov complained that he had not been allowed to go to the front even after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.