December 11, 2023

Igor Girkin is a prominent ultranationalist in custody in Russia. (File)

Igor Girkin, a prominent ultranationalist in custody in Russia awaiting trial on charges of inciting extremism, nominated himself to run for president in 2024 in an announcement read on his behalf on Saturday, the online SOTA news channel said.

Girkin said from custody in August that he would make a better president than Vladimir Putin, whom he described as “too kind”. His comments at the time were laced with irony and he is considered an unlikely contender.

In a post on its Telegram channel, SOTA carried a video of Oleg Nelzin, whom it described as co-chair of a group called Russian Movement for Strelkov, reading a letter from Girkin at a news conference.

The letter instructed his followers to set up a headquarters and start collecting signatures for his candidacy, SOTA said. Supporters of Girkin said in September that his criminal investigation had been extended until Dec. 18.

Girkin, who lost an appeal against pre-trial detention in a Moscow court in August, is best known in the West for his conviction in absentia by a Dutch court for his role in shooting down a Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said Putin has unprecedented support and that he would win an overwhelming majority if he ran.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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