On June 9, St. Petersburg police evacuated the ultra-right Listva ("Leaf") Library on the day Igor Strelkov, the self-proclaimed "[man] responsible for the war in Eastern Ukraine," was to give a talk. The Russian nationalist often criticizes Russian leaders for their "insufficiency" in the full-scale war in Ukraine.
Strelkov, born Igor Vsevolodvich Girkin, worked for the far-right newspaper Zavtra ("Tomorrow") before fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists in Transnistria, Moldova, and Republica Srpska in the Bosnian war. The pro-war activist is accused of partaking in the Višegrad massacre, where thousands of Bosnian civilians were killed and raped. A Dutch court convicted him in absentia for shooting down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in 2014. Afterward, he was dismissed as defense minister of the Russian-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.
According to a Telegram post by Listva, it was not the first time the police performed an "evacuation" at the library. And such interruptions of events have occurred elsewhere with anti-war speakers or performers, as with pianist Polina Osetinskaya's concert in Moscow in 2023. However, Yevgeny Prigozhin's uprising has now opened the doors to more police interventions on pro-war public figures like Strelkov.
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