Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, the former ringleader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militants, will be auctioning the gold medal he was awarded for his role in the occupation of Crimea.
According to Novaya Gazeta, the auction will be held on 13 April on a Russian website. Girkin hopes to fetch at least 1 million rubles ($15,000) for his 79 gram, 18 karat medal.
“Yes, it is my medal, a non-state [medal]. It was awarded to me by [Konstantin] Malofeev in the spring of 2014, before the start of the Donbas campaign. I’m selling it because there are financial problems that I can’t fix with the cash I have available,” Girkin wrote on the Russian social network VKontakte.
Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, was the commander of the militants in Sloviansk for several months, led the so-called People’s Militia in Donetsk, and also acted as the DPR “Minister of Defense”.
After Sloviansk was liberated from the separatists and Russian militants, Girkin fled Ukraine, and announced that he would not be returning to the DPR. Girkin was also the first to announce that DPR militants had shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over the Donbas, believing it to be a Ukrainian military plane.
After Girkin fled Ukraine, the Russian media reported that the Novorossiya project was completely closed, and that the other ringleaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk terrorist groups were also ready to flee to Russia.
On 21 May 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine opened a criminal case against Girkin, accusing him of creating a terrorist organization, organizing mass riots, and committing terrorist acts.