Strelkov models his distinctive look on the Russian General Alexander Arkadyevich Suvorov (as painted by the Prussian artist Franz Krueger). This is not the famous Suvorov of the Napoleonic Wars, but his grandson who took part in the crushing of the Polish uprising of 1830-31.
Strelkov fought in Transnistria, Bosnia and the two Chechen wars.
His friend Mikhail Polikarpov wrote a book about their adventures in Bosnia, Russian Wolves. Strelkov appears as the character Monarchist, obsessed with the Russian Civil War and happily shelling the houses of "Turks" (i.e. Muslims) with a mortar. (Recently, the Bosnian media has alleged that Strelkov was a comrade of the Serbian paramilitary Boban Indic and took part in rapes and killings in Visegrad).
In the late 1990s, Strelkov published The Bosnian Diary of Igor G. (i.e. Igor Girkin = Igor Strelkov). Both Visegrad and Boban Indic are mentioned. The author tells of his delight at seeing Orthodox churches from the time of the White Russian emigration in Belgrade and his contempt for Serbs who fail to live up to his Pan-Slavic ideals.
In Moscow Strelkov belonged to the Markov Club, a military re-enactment society named after the White general Sergei Markov. Strelkov was even more fascinated by another White general, Drozdovsky, who famously marched across Ukraine, from the Romanian town of Iasi to the Don. [NB: Lis doesn't mention it, but Drozdovsky's men later allegedly buried him in a secret grave near Sevastopol]. Strelkov spent such a fortune on his hobby that Lis suggests this may have been the reason his wife left him. One of the biggest expenses was a heavy machine-gun, which Strelkov used in re-enactments of the Russian Civil War and both World Wars. He preferred to play the role of junior officers.
By most accounts, Strelkov is a teetotaller. In Polikarpov's novel, the Strelkov character uses the radio handle "Vodka", but this is probably ironic. Although the Russian military re-enactment clubs are notorious for their heavy drinking, Strelkov abstained and chose non-drinkers as part of his machine-gun crew.
Next post: Strelkov's fantasy novel for children