Former Russian commander Igor Ivanovich Strelkov, also known as Igor Girkin, recently warned of “civil war” in Russia that could result in “millions of casualties” as the country continues to fight in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“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 with subtitles that was posted to Twitter on Sunday by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
In the clip, Girkin added that Moscow could “collapse into a civil war with millions of casualties, with a complete collapse and defragmentation.”
Russia continues to fight in Ukraine despite struggles in obtaining military equipment, shortage in manpower, poor morale among troops, and what some predicted an internal division within military leaders.
On Saturday, Russian forces launched a missile strike that hit a building in an apartment complex in Dnipro, killing 29 people and injuring dozens of others, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, the region’s governor.
Though Russian forces made some advances in capturing the Ukrainian city of Soledar, Ukrainian army leaders still have control over the situation in the western outskirts of the city, which is north of Bakhmut, Girkin said Wednesday on Telegram.
Meanwhile, warnings about a civil war breaking out in Moscow have been previously made by some of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s critics.
Mark Feygin, a former deputy in the State Duma and human rights lawyer, told Newsweek last October that a comprehensive defeat for Putin in Ukraine could result in a “bloody” civil war with a range of factions and regions seeking power.
“What will be depends greatly on the way this war will conclude,” Feygin said, adding that Ukraine could “crash” Putin’s government without even taking back Crimea if Kyiv’s troops are able to fully liberate the Kherson, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk oblasts.
“The easiest would be if elites inside Russia will make up their mind and choose a replacement for Putin, a replacement who could negotiate with the West, could provide some initial framework for concluding the logistics of that war, and then also work towards future elections,” Feygin said.
This past November, some leaked emails from a whistleblower at Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) that were shared with Newsweek revealed how a possible civil war could break out among Putin’s closest allies.
The agent, dubbed the Wind of Change, writes regular dispatches to Russian dissident exile Vladimir Osechkin, expressing the frustration and discontent inside the FSB over the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The emails detail inner turmoil and conflict within Moscow, predicting an “inevitable” civil war, and that the country will soon “descend into the abyss of terror” as people grow increasingly tired of the war.
Newsweek reached out to the Russia foreign affairs ministry for comment.