Former Russian commander Igor Girkin floated a "civil war" as a potential solution to Moscow's struggling invasion of Ukraine in a new Telegram post slamming Kremlin military leadership.
Girkin's latest remarks come more than a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Although Putin initially hoped for a quick victory over Kyiv, which has a smaller military than Russia, Ukraine responded with a stronger-than-anticipated defense effort that has been bolstered by Western military aid, blunting Putin's forces.
After months of combat, and a lack of clear progress on Russia's side, some Russian military experts continue to grow more critical of the country's military leadership, which they blame for Ukraine's success in reclaiming formerly occupied territory.
Meanwhile, Girkin, a self-described Russian nationalist who rose to prominence during the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, has emerged as one of Putin's most vocal critics. While Girkin has expressed support for the goals of the invasion, he has been sharply critical of the Kremlin in recent months.
The former military commander, who has been charged with terrorism by Ukraine, took to Telegram on Saturday to share his latest attack on Russia's military. He described Russian Deputy General Andrey Kartapolov as a "fool" and suggested dividing up military responsibilities by local municipalities.
"But the idea is in the air: to protect against terrorists and air strikes in each municipality, it is necessary to create their own armies, since our nationwide armed forces are not doing their job," Girkin wrote.
He noted there is historical precedence for such a division, questioning if the nation could "repeat" past civil conflicts.
"True, this has already happened - in the last Civil War," he wrote. "Hundreds of self-defense units and just gangs fought among themselves and with those states that arose and disappeared on the territory of the former Russian Empire. Can we repeat?"
Girkin did not offer specific details about what this proposed "civil war" would look like, but in January he warned about a potential civil war within Russia that could end in "millions of casualties."
"There are all kinds of civil wars. There are civil wars that will kill our country in three days in winter. And it will be over in three days, but it will kill the country," Girkin said in a clip posted to Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
Mark Feygin, a former deputy in the State Duma and human rights lawyer, previously told Newsweek that Russian defeat could lead to a civil war, which would likely involve various political factions and regions vying for control of the large Eastern European nation.