Igor ‘Vsyevolodovitch Girkin, also know as, Igor Ivanovich Strelkov has in recent weeks turned his rhetorical fire on the Kremlin itself, even if he no longer has an army with which to back up his words. Strelkov’s force was pulled out of East Ukraine by the Kremlin in August 2014, reportedly because Russian authorities felt he was too much of a liability. Strelkov was then kept in a Dosteytskesque limbo, prevented from returning to the conflict or featuring in state-controlled media.
Moscow then held Strelkov in a Dostoevsky–esque limbo within Russian borders and prevented him from returning to the conflict or featuring in state-controlled media. Strelkov, who studied history and models himself on the White officers who fought the Bolsheviks during the Russian civil war, has been put on international sanctions lists for his role in the Ukraine war.
Ever since Strelkov was told to leave Ukraine in August 2014, the Kremlin has put him on the “Stop list”; the unofficial list of those it is impermissible to give airtime to on state television, which includes most of the liberal opposition. Nationalism is a powerful political force in Russia, and many wonder if the flames that were fanned in east Ukraine in 2014 will be easy to put out, now that the Kremlin is seeking a diplomatic solution that would still give it a say in Ukrainian affairs.
Others say that a figure like Strelkov, after his brief months in the limelight in 2014, is doomed to remain peripheral from now on, addressing small groups of nationalists in his discussion tours around the country, but unlikely to win broad appeal.