Reserve FSB colonel and former “minister of defense” of the Donetsk separatists, Igor Strelkov (Gyrkin), who was arrested on charges of inciting extremism, confirmed from a pre-trial detention center his intention to run for president of Russia next year.
The publication “Sota” published a video in which Strelkov’s letter about the presidential nomination is read by the co-chairman of the Russian Movement for Strelkov (RDS), created by his associates, Oleg Nelzin.
In particular, the letter contains an instruction to Strelkov’s associates to create an initiative group and deploy a headquarters to collect signatures, as well as appeals for support to various public organizations.
For the first time, Strelkov announced the possibility of his participation in the elections in August, shortly after his arrest. He based his decision on the fact that he considers himself better than the current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in several areas. A number of activists who shared Strelkov’s views, however, criticized his intentions and expressed the opinion that, having thrown a symbolic challenge to Putin, he would only worsen his chances of getting free.
Strelkov was arrested at the end of July 2023 due to posts criticizing the Russian authorities, in which the investigation saw calls for extremism. Strelkov will stay in the SIZO until at least December 18. According to the appropriate article, he faces up to five years in prison. According to the law, in the event of an indictment, Strelkov will not be able to run for the post of president of Russia, however, he has the right to run for office before the sentence enters into force.
At the same time, elections in Russia have not yet been officially scheduled, Strelkov cannot collect signatures. This must be done within about a month after the election date is set in December, if the CEC registers an initiative group in support of the candidate.
- In November 2022, Strelkov was sentenced in absentia by a court in The Hague to life imprisonment for involvement in the crash of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane in Donbass in 2014. 298 people died in the disaster. Strelkov did not participate in the trial and denies guilt.
- Strelkov became famous in 2014, when a detachment of dozens of Russian citizens led by him, with the support of separatists, captured the Ukrainian city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region. The war in Donbas actually began with the battles in Slavyansk. Now Strelkov is one of the active supporters of Russia’s war against Ukraine. At the same time, from its beginning, he sharply criticized the Russian military command for failures at the front.
- Vladimir Putin has not yet announced his participation in the elections, but numerous mass media, citing sources, claimed that he would run for a fifth term.