Igor Girkin, ex-minister of defense of the so-called Donetsk Republic, who fled Donetsk in August of 2014, when Ukrainian forces began their suppression of terrorist forces, has now become a peculiar kind of self-whistle blower. Recently, sitting in a studio of the “Polit-Ring” debate TV show featured by something called NeuroMirTV, Girkin has openly described some of the schemes which were implemented during the illegal referendum in Crimea in the spring of 2014, which was later used as the excuse by Russia for the annexation of the peninsula. As his opponent is passionately describing how Crimean outfits of the Ukrainian army and the police were, in his opinion, in all ways supporting of “people’s desire to reunite with Russia”, Girking quietly laughs, and retorts:
“Have you actually been to Crimea during the referendum? Well, I have. I have been there since February the 21th. What you are describing here is absolute rubbish. There were no policemen who supported our side at that time. The only law-enforcement subdivision that has joined our ranks back then was the Berkut. The rest of the law-enforcement agencies remained under control of Ukrainian Ministry of Internal, and kept carrying out the MIA’s orders. Yes, sometimes they were sabotaging these orders, but all in all they were under Ukrainian control. I haven’t seen any support from official governmental representatives in Simferopol. Our troops had to force the deputies into the Oblast Council hall so that these representatives would vote in favor of our initiatives. I know this because I have been at the time commandeering one of such militant teams and I’ve seen it all from the inside. We had absolutely no support from the people, not to mention the army. The Ukrainian army units remained loyal to Kyiv as they were. Furthermore, most of the army remained that way. The only thing that made what we have accomplished in Crimea possible was the presence of Russian army.” (Fragment of video in Russian):
Girkin’s militant façade is pretty much gone today, as if the ex-terrorist is trying to distance himself from responsibility for his crimes. His Cossack style wavy hair has become neatly trimmed; his camouflage is now replaced with cozy Mr. Rogers cardigan. Though outspoken about the atrocities he caused, of which he seems to be nevertheless proud, an ex-rebel prefers to maintain somewhat neutral towards the war today, though bitter about, as he puts it, the lack of Russian support in the East of Ukraine. Whether this is his way of agitating for further Russian invasion or simply a covert lie to avoid awkward questions about his rushed departure from Donetsk in the end of August 2014 is hard to tell. What is undeniable though is that Girking is not too keen about returning to his “rebellion” activities in Ukraine. Perhaps it is time for his comrades to follow their leader’s example. After all, he is still alive and in one piece.