Igor Girkin

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I was the one who pulled the trigger of this war.

Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin (Russian:И́горь Все́володович Ги́ркин; born 17 December 1970), also known by the alias Igor Ivanovich Strelkov (Russian: И́горь Ива́нович Стрелко́в), is a Russian army veteran and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who played a key role in the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and later the war in Donbas as an organizer of militant groups in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Girkin led a group of militants into Ukraine where he participated in the 2014 Siege of Sloviansk. During the battle he increased his influence and ultimately became the de facto military commander of all separatist forces in the Donbas region, which was confirmed by the "prime minister" Alexander Borodai of the DPR who appointed him as official Defense Minister.



About warfare against Ukraine in Donbas from April 2014

  • I was the one who pulled the trigger of this war.
  • If our unit hadn't crossed the border, everything would have fizzled out.
  • There would have been several dozen killed, burned, detained. And that would have been the end of it. But the flywheel of the war, which is continuing to this day, was spun by our unit. We mixed up all the cards on the table.

About the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

  • 29 days of the special operation have passed. No strategic success has been achieved in any direction.
  • Even more : The enemy is quite successful in mobilizing and launching a counter-offensive.
  • To my regret, I have to say that my most pessimistic predictions that we will be dragged into a bloody, long, draining and highly dangerous mess for the Russian Federation have come true.
  • Putin and his circle have recently embarked on a path that I believe will inevitably lead to a collapse of the system. We don’t know how yet, we don’t know when yet, but we’re sure it will collapse, and sooner rather than later.
  • For them, I’m an uncomfortable figure. They don’t know what to do with me: am I a hero or a terrorist? They can’t arrest me and put me in jail because that would be considered an admission to the West. To honor me Neither can they, so I’m caught between the chairs.
  • We must ask ourselves, does the superiority of the Russian Federation’s armed forces in aviation and heavy weapons guarantee victory over an enemy, for whom our offensive plans are obvious, which is prepared for defense and has high morale? My answer is NO — there is no guarantee.
  • Without at least a partial mobilization in the Russian Federation, it will be impossible and highly dangerous to launch a deep strategic offensive against the so-called ‘Ukraine.’ We must prepare for a long and difficult war.
  • If our forces advance at the speed of a limping invalid this could take a long time.
  • Let's imagine for a second, that in the next few weeks the enemy will be after all defeated through continuous frontal and flank attacks, and completely pushed out of [Donbas] borders. And? What will this achieve? Will this end the war? No, not at all.
  • When [Russian troops] weakened in heavy fights and bloody assaults reach the borders of [Donbas], they will be met by fresh and well-equipped [Ukrainian] units at frontiers prepared for defence in advance.
  • Even if those fresh units for whatever reason decide not to take over the initiative and begin a counter-offensive - still the Russian Federation will face a perspective of a long positional war, which is nearly fatal (in current conditions) to our economy, social and socio-political situation.
  • It's meaningless to hope for victory through attrition taking into account that almost all of Europe and North America are acting as a rear for [Ukraine].
  • Thus, it will be necessary to try and defeat the enemy in field battles. And, excuse me, with whom, and with what?! If so far not even the partial mobilisation has been carried out?! No one is giving clear answers to these questions. Simply because there aren't any.
  • The majority of mobilized (and most of the regular) servicemen of the RF Armed Forces have no motivation to sacrifice in the conduct of hostilities against the Armed Forces of Ukraine, since the goals of the war are not only not explained by the authorities, but are not even officially defined at all. At the same time, the disciplinary measures that are at the disposal of the command of the RF Armed Forces “according to the laws of peacetime” are not enough to make military personnel fear them more than death and injury from enemy fire.
  • Our commander in chief is not going to win this war at all.
  • Whatever victories our army achieves in this war, we are going to lose it with this kind of approach of the country's leadership.
  • He's never seen a tank except in a parade, what's wrong with his head? He's really acting not even like an old man, but like a child.
  • For 23 years, the country was led by a lowlife who managed to ‘blow dust in the eyes’ of a significant part of the population. Now he is the last island of legitimacy and stability of the state. But the country will not be able to withstand another six years of this cowardly bum in power.
  • My arrest happened a month after Prigozhin's rebellion. My biggest fear is that instead of the usual criminal punishment, I will be "amnestied" in the same way as the Cook.
  • Once the indictment is pronounced, I have no place on Earth where I would be recognized as a law-abiding citizen. In the West, I have already been recognized as a terrorist after the verdict of the Hague Tribunal. And in my homeland, apparently, a dubious reputation as an extremist awaits me.
  • I have always believed that Russian blood should be shed exclusively for Russia, for the interests of the Russian people, and not for the selfish deeds of Russian oligarchs and political adventurers. Therefore, my attitude towards Prigozhin is purely negative.
  • The war has passed the 21st month, there is no end in sight.
  • I am of sound mind and memory, I really want to participate in the presidential elections, in case the opportunity presents itself, which is extremely unlikely.
    • Interview published in Baza, December 7 2023.
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