Pro-war Russian nationalists led by Igor Girkin said on Friday that a new group they had set up was entering politics to save Russia which they warned was in danger of turmoil due to military failures in the Ukraine war.
Nearly 15 months since President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in what he called “a special military operation,” Moscow says it has still not achieved all of its aims as its forces brace for a Ukrainian counter-offensive which is backed by the United States and the NATO military alliance.
The group, known as the “Club of Angry Patriots,” said it was entering politics as an opposition party without any formal or informal instruction from the Kremlin but said it saw Putin as the only true guarantor of stability in modern Russia.
The club was founded on March 17
Girkin, a nationalist and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 and then organize pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine, said the group hoped to prevent the collapse of Russia.
“A systemic crisis is brewing in Russia – or it is already in the grip of crisis – while the temperature of society is rising,” Girkin told Reuters. “We are on the cusp of very grave internal political changes of a catastrophic character.”
“All healthy forces need to create organizations which will take part in the political battle which is inevitable – and which has already started,” he said.
There was no immediate comment to Girkin’s move by the Kremlin, which says the situation inside Russia remains stable despite external attempts to destabilize it and that its military campaign will in time achieve all its aims in Ukraine.
When asked if he was naive to think he could announce a political movement in Putin’s Russia without the assent of the Kremlin, he said: “I hope you would not call me a naive person.”