Igor Girkin, ex-minister of defense of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” has once again publicly contradicted Russia’s official denials of its involvement in the war in Ukraine. Answering a question about Russian volunteers coming to fight to Ukraine’s war-torn eastern regions at the Polit-Ring show on Neuromir TV on May 12, the former terrorist leader commonly known as “Strelkov” stated that, increasingly, the Russian volunteers that come to Donbas to defend the “Russian world” that is attempted to be instated in the Luhansk and Donetsk “People’s Republics” (“LNR” and “DNR”) return to Russia in disappointment.
“They see the chaos that is going on there. And the chaos is quite terrible. They [the militants] come there being motivated, understanding that they were going to defend the ‘Russian world,’ but now are forced to defend regimes that were planted with the Kremlin’s support. It is useless and foolish to deny this. To think that they [the separatist “republics”] formed by themselves means making an idiot or a fool out of oneself,”
Girkin commented, noting that only a small fraction of the Russians coming to fight in Donbas are wounded or captured in battle: most leave Donbas, disenchanted with the chaos and lawlessness, which he calls “Makhnovschina,” referring to the times of the anarchist leader Nestor Makhno whose Black Army fought to create a stateless anarchic society in eastern Ukraine during 1918-1921. He notes that while the terrorist republics, in particular, the “DNR,” have tried to combat this anarchic “Makhnovschina,” some armed formations wreaking havoc in Donbas are endorsed by the authorities and cause more mayhem than the informal ones, and that the authorities don’t even try to address this problem and are an “imitation” and “simulacra.”
In the interview, Girkin also states that Ukraine is ahead of the separatists in creating an efficient army. “In a year or maybe less they will be able to fight against Russia. Because it will be a large army. Yes, it will be loose and poorly instructed, but it will be a real large army with combat experience,” he said. Girkin also noted that though the Ukrainian soldiers can be called “undisciplined drunkards,” the “militia” of the self-proclaimed republics is doing the same. “Everyone is drunk, a huge development of drug addiction – it’s true,” he stated.
Girkin goes as far as to commend the Ukrainian government in their recent war-related initiatives:
“Ukraine is creating necessary tools. I understand that there a draft bill adopted on introducing martial law [Girkin is referring to the bill on the legal regime of martial law signed by Ukrainian President Poroshenko on June 9]. This will allow them in the event of the exacerbation of the situation to use the army lawfully, to introduce martial proceedings, to carry out confiscations under the law, and not according to what every commander on the site imagines doing, to carry out mobilization and introduce compulsory labor. There is nothing close to this in the “LNR” and “DNR.” Ukraine is consistent, it creates tools for conducting full-scale war, an army, it has created an anti-Russian ideology and is consistently implementing what its leaders say. And for us, it’s the usual business: we say one thing, do another, while wanting yet something else. So we end up with something strange… if we end up with anything at all.”
After fleeing to Russia in August 2014 together with other terrorist leaders of the self-proclaimed “republics,” Igor Girkin has given a series of interviews contradicting the official Russian version of events in Donbas. He has slammed the leadership of the self-proclaimed “republics” in Donbas, declared that the Crimean referendum is a farce, admitted to starting the war in Donbas, stated that Putin might end up in the Hague.
Girkins claims about volunteers becoming disenchanted with reality in Donbas coincides with a recent study of Russian social media groups showing Russians are increasingly losing interest in joining the Russian pro-separatist militia in Donbas.