The Security Service of Ukraine said in a statement that "the real name of Igor Strelkov is Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin. He is a citizen of the Russian Federation, Colonel.
Strelkov-Girkin was born Dec. 17, 1970. Passport number 4506460961, registered in Moscow, Shenkursky Drive. Strelkov-Girkin is a staff member of the GRU (Russia's external military intelligence organization) and had repeatedly visited Ukraine with the Russian passport."
According to the SBU, the last time he legally crossed Ukrainian border was on Feb. 26, 2014, arriving from Sheremetyevo Airport (Moscow) to Simferopol, the Crimea. The building of the Verhovna Rada of the Crimea was seized on the night of Feb. 27, 2014.
In his spare time, Strelkov-Girkin is a fan of historical re-enactment
"With the data available, it is easy to establish real personality of Strelkov-Girkin, who had been part of the Russian military re-enactment community. It is certain that he is not a GRU colonel, but presumably a retired warrant officer or officer of Russia's FSB, who is also a military-historical reenactment enthusiast. In recent years the main subject of his hobbies was participation in reconstruction of the Volunteer Army/Armed Forces of the Southern Russia of the 1918-1920 (sic!)", the bloggers wrote.
It is known that Strelkov-Girkin indeed took part in the Crimean events in February-March 2014. There are social media records of it.
"They could've congratulated me personally. I worked hard and a lot on this issue (the annexation of Crimea - ed.)," Strelkov-Girkin wrote on one of the forums.
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June 1993 - July 1994 - Military service, conscription, military unit #11281, rifleman of the security team.
February - December 1995 - Contract military service, military unit #22033, platoon sergeant.
August 1996 - July 2000 - Military unit #31763
July 2000 - April 2005 - Military unit #78576
April 2005 to present - Military unit #36391
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The most recent place of service (Unit #36391) is the Department of Fighting with International Terrorism of the Russian FSB. However, there is no information about Girkin-Strelkov's military or any other special education, so it seems that he served as a low rank officer for the FSB. This title is confirmed by the fact that while in the military-historical re-enactments, Girkin-Strelkov also had the rank of sergeant or other low-rank officer. According to the available information, Girkin-Strelkov resigned from the FSB some time ago.
The bloggers stated citing their sources that Girkin-Strelkov allegedly completed some special FSB courses and served in FSB military units as some sort of an officer, but was definitely "never promoted to the colonel." It is also known that Girkin-Strelkov fought as a volunteer in Yugoslavia and as a contract soldier in the first Chechen war. While talking to the correspondent Simon Shuster, Time Magazine, separatists described their commander as "captain".