A very cold day in hell

Hell must have frozen over, because a Kremlin-linked Russian nationalist has actually taken responsibility for something.  Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, former rebel military commander in Eastern Ukraine and a Russian citizen with ties to intelligence services, has actually claimed personal responsibility for what has happened, and what is currently happening in Ukraine. He has apparently admitted the following:

-There was no real conflict in Ukraine until his unit crossed the border, i.e. from Russia.

-At first, “90 percent” of the rebel forces were local. That apparently changed as they were joined by thousands of Russian military personnel supposedly “on vacation.”

-Russia has definitely been sending material aid to the rebels, in spite of what it has claimed thus far.

-Those who created the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics never intended to create functional states(no shit). They were betting on Russia absorbing them like the Crimea, but instead the Kremlin told them to open a dialog with Kyiv. Even recently, Russia refused to recognize their recent elections. It is curious that Russia’s stance seems to have changed after the first round of modest sanctions were levied on key individuals after the Crimean annexation. It’s hard to pretend as though this wasn’t driven by fear and cold, calculating self-interest on the part of Moscow’s oligarch elite.

The article also notes how Strelkov seemed to “disappear” from state run newscasts, implying that he might have fallen out of favor with the Kremlin’s media. Given the importance of what Strelkov has now admitted, and the fact that he is all but refuting Moscow’s denials about helping the rebellion in Ukraine, it seems that he may be in danger of disappearing altogether.  Months ago Russian nationalist figures were praising him as a potential replacement to Putin, thus marking him as a potential threat to the leader. That alone was bad enough. After this, Mr. Girkin might want to consider slipping across the border and running like hell, before he meets those ever dangerous “unknown masked assailants” who plague Russia’s dissidents and journalists.

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