[guest post by Dana]
Yesterday, the Russian propagandist daughter of the man dubbed “Putin’s brain” was killed when a car bomb went off:
[Darya] Dugina died at the scene after “an explosive device, presumably installed in the Toyota Land Cruiser, went off on a public road and the car caught fire” at around 9.00 p.m. local time on Saturday, near the village of Bolshiye Vyazemy, according to the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee, as reported by the Russian state news agency TASS.
The bomb was detonated remotely, a law enforcement official told TASS Monday. “Presumably, the car was monitored and its movement was controlled,” the unnamed official told the news agency.
Russian officials said the explosive device was attached under the car “on the driver’s side,” and 400g of TNT was used, according to TASS.
The report mentions that a family friend said that the car Darya Dugina was driving belonged to her father, ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin, and suggested that perhaps he had been the intended target, not his daughter. More:
On August 20, the father-daughter duo went to the Traditsiya (Tradition) festival, an art and culture event with a nationalist bent, where Dugin spoke and his daughter appeared as a special guest. Dugina reportedly drove them both to the festival site—the Pushkin Museum and Park in the town of Zakharovo—in the Toyota Land Cruiser, which was apparently registered in her name. She was also reportedly going to drive Dugin back to Moscow; but at the last minute, he got into a different car for the return trip. The explosive device was evidently planted in the museum parking lot where security cameras had been (according to some reports) disabled two weeks ago.
Both father and daughter had been previously slapped with U.S. and European Union sanctions.
Unsurprisingly, Russia is blaming a Ukrainian spy service for the bombing:
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the main KGB successor agency, said Monday that Dugina’s killing had been “prepared and perpetrated by the Ukrainian special services.”
The FSB accused Ukrainian citizen Natalya Vovk of carrying out the bombing, saying she arrived in Russia in July with her 12-year-old daughter and rented an apartment in the building where Dugina lived, in order to shadow her. The agency said Vovk and her daughter were at a Russian nationalist festival which Daria Dugina and her father attended just before the car bombing.
The FSB said Vovk and her daughter left Russia for Estonia after Dugina’s killing, using a different vehicle license plate on their way out of the country.
Russian law enforcement said it would seek to extradite the suspect to Russia, threatening “tough actions” if Estonia refuses to cooperate.
Ukraine pushed back on the accusations, with a Zelensky adviser saying on Ukrainian television Sunday that Ukraine “certainly had nothing to do with” the attack, and arguing the country was “not a criminal state like the Russian Federation is.”
Meanwhile, Russia is already looking to strike Ukraine:
The Russian government has not commented on the incident, but Kremlin-linked propagandists were accusing Ukraine of the attack even before investigators could finish picking through the debris.
Margarita Simonyan, one of Vladimir Putin’s favourite pro-war TV pundits, said that missile strikes should target Ukraine’s “decision-making centres”.
Meanwhile, Tsargrad TV, the Russian orthodox and nationalist TV network where Mr Dugin is the editor and Ms Dugina had been a commentator, said that “Kyiv should shake” from missiles strikes.
However, Bill Browder suggests a very different and real possibility with regard to those responsible for Dugina’s death:
It entirely possible that the FSB assassinated Dugina in order to blame Ukraine and justify more violent attacks. They did the same thing to justify the Chechen war
President Zelensky warned Ukrainians of the likelihood of increased attacks on the days before Ukraine’s independence day August 24:
Several Ukrainian cities, including the country’s capital, Kyiv, are banning Wednesday’s Independence Day celebrations as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky warns of “particularly cruel” attacks by Russia.
Ukraine will mark 31 years of independence from Soviet rule this Aug. 24. It will also be the first time the country celebrates its independence since Russia invaded six months ago.
“We should be aware that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,” Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday.
“One of the key tasks of the enemy is to humiliate us, Ukrainians, to devalue our capabilities, our heroes, to spread despair, fear, to spread conflicts,” Zelensky said as he urged vigilance. “Therefore, it is important never, for a single moment, to give in to this enemy pressure, not to wind oneself up, not to show weakness.”
Note: Don’t miss Cathy Young’s brilliant piece (which I quoted from above) on the death of Darya Dugina. About Dugina and what sort of woman she was, Young provides a look at her which tells us all we need to know:
In an appearance on Russia’s state-controlled Channel One, Dugina asserted with a straight face that what Russia was actually doing in Mariupol was “trying to reclaim the peaceful population from death.” It turns out, however, that she wasn’t talking about literal death: “Death is the loss of community,” she explained, with a reference to the nineteenth-century German Romantic poet Novalis. “In Ukraine, this community, this unity of the people, was lost; a whole bunch of groups appeared with an aggressive ideology, with absolute Russophobia.” What Novorossiya really needs, she concluded, is “the introduction of ideology.” Oh, and tribunals for the “Nazis” and “non-humans” fighting for the Ukrainian side.
On other occasions, Dugina claimed that the killings in Bucha were staged in order to “convince the Western public of the Russians’ bloody crimes” and that Bucha was chosen for this purpose because of its name’s similarity to the word “butcher” in order to implant the trope of Putin as a butcher in people’s minds.
On the very last day of her life, Dugina appeared on an online propaganda show to claim that the “special operation” in Ukraine was the “final nail in the coffin” of Western “liberal totalitarianism”—which, she asserted for good measure, was seeking to reduce the world’s population through environmentalism, gay rights, and the COVID vaccine.
Via Young, I’ll leave you with this observation by Russian journalist Yulia Latynina:
I don’t know who murdered the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin, a marginal but highly visible fascist who went around without security. But I believe it will be followed by a Great Terror, just like Fanny Kaplan’s attempt on Lenin’s life or the murder of [Party official Sergei] Kirov.
A week ago I asked: “How will Putin respond to the strikes on Crimea?” It looks like Putin has no way to respond outside Russia and will respond with massive domestic terror. And if he doesn’t, others will do it for him.
The murder of Dugin’s daughter is not senseless. It will launch a wave of retaliatory terror just like Kirov’s murder [in 1937]. As for the prehistory of this murder, I will not speculate about it because there are too many possibilities.