Former Russian commander Igor Girkin shared a Telegram post partially blaming Moscow’s failures in the Ukraine invasion on Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s alleged “schizophrenia” as the war passed its one-year mark on Friday.
Girkin, who rose to prominence during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, on Saturday reposted on Telegram a post that was originally shared on Russian social media network VKontakte that offered analysis on why Putin’s troops have failed to make progress against Ukraine.
Putin launched his “special military operation” on the Eastern European country on February 24, 2022, aiming for a quick victory against Ukraine. However, after 12 months of fighting, Russia has struggled to achieve major wins against the war-torn country. The stagnant invasion has drawn criticism from some Russian military experts, including Girkin.
Girkin’s post pointed to a number of factors that enabled Ukraine to resist the Russian invasion and retake thousands of square miles of formerly occupied territory. These factors included Russia’s military, Western aid, and Russian “elite” oligarchs.
One of the factors that prevented Russia from successfully defeating Ukraine was Putin’s leadership, according to the post.
The text blames Putin’s “amazing schizophrenic ability” to start any “business,” but not finish it, accusing the Russian leader of “hiding in the bushes” amid his troops’ mounting struggles.
“However, maybe this is not schizophrenia, but the standard behavior of an ordinary mid-level regional official, when something went wrong, and ‘colleagues’ and ‘merchants’ begin to beat the thresholds and demand to ‘return everything to the back,'” Girkin’s post reads.
Girkin’s post also reads that Putin cannot retreat, as doing so would be viewed as a “manifestation of weakness and the loss of ‘alpha status,” though the Russian leader has showed no indication that he plans on doing so.
“But you can’t leave the supplicants either, so you have to squirm like this…” the post said.
Girkin slams Russian leadership amid stalled invasion
Girkin, a self-described Russian nationalist who has faced international charges of murder and Ukrainian charges of terrorism, has publicly supported the goals of the Ukraine invasion, but in recent months ramped up his criticism of Russian leadership.
In January, Girkin described the Russian military effort as a complete failure. Earlier in February, he said that Russian generals’ key mistakes in Ukraine was a direct result of Kremlin officials.
“It seems that all the events of the past year passed by our generals,” Girkin wrote at the time. “However, since some of them are [at least from the moment they entered military schools] complete cretins, all the mistakes that were made before were exemplarily repeated.”
Military experts have also pointed to several factors to explain why Russia has struggled in Ukraine, including the apparent lack of motivation among Russian forces and dysfunctional military leadership—despite having advantages of a powerful arsenal and vast military.
Putin, meanwhile, remained quiet about the war’s one-year anniversary, making no public statements about the milestone.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.