Igor Girkin, a prominent ultranationalist figure detained in Russia, is running for president in the 2024 elections. Girkin announced this in a statement read in his name on Saturday (18/11), said online news channel SOTA.
Girkin is currently still awaiting trial on charges of inciting extremism.
Girkin said from custody in August that he would be a better president than Vladimir Putin, whom he described as “too good.” His comments at the time were laced with irony and he was considered an unlikely candidate to run.
In a text post on its Telegram channel, SOTA posted a video of Oleg Nelzin reading a letter from Girkin at a press conference. Nelzin has been referred to as one of the leaders of a group called the Russian Movement for Strelkov.
The letter instructed his followers to set up headquarters and begin collecting signatures for his candidacy, SOTA said. Girkin’s supporters said in September that the investigation into his criminal case had been extended until December 18.
Girkin is best known in the West for his sentence in absentia by a Dutch court for his role in shooting down a Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014. He himself lost an appeal against his pre-trial detention in a Moscow court in August.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had unprecedented support and he was confident he would bag a majority of the vote if he ran. (ah/ft)