MOSCOW – The daughter of a Russian nationalist ideologue often referred to as “Putin’s mastermind” was killed when her car exploded outside Moscow, authorities said Sunday.
The Investigative Committee branch of the Moscow region said Saturday night’s explosion was caused by a bomb planted in the SUV driven by Daria Dugina.
The 29-year-old was the daughter of political theorist Alexander Dugin, a prominent proponent of the “Russian world” concept and a staunch supporter of Russia sending troops to Ukraine.
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Dugin’s exact ties to President Vladimir Putin are unclear, but the Kremlin often echoes the rhetoric of his writings and appearances on Russian state television. He helped popularize the concept of “Novorossiya” (New Russia) which Russia used to justify its annexation of Crimea and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
He promotes Russia as a country of piety, traditional values and authoritarian leadership, and disdains liberal Western values.
Dugina expressed similar views and had appeared as a commentator on the nationalist Tsargrad TV channel.
She was sanctioned by the United States in March for her work as editor-in-chief of United World International, a website the US described as a disinformation site. The sanctions announcement cited a UWI article from this year that claimed Ukraine would “perish” if admitted to NATO.
“Dasha, like his father, has always been at the forefront of confrontation with the West,” Tsargrad said on Sunday, using the familiar form of his name.
The explosion took place when Dugina was returning from a cultural festival she had attended with her father. Some Russian media quoted witnesses as saying that the vehicle belonged to his father and that he had decided at the last minute to travel in another car.
The live and violent incident, unusual for Moscow, is likely to exacerbate animosity between Russia and Ukraine.
No suspects were immediately identified. But Denis Pushilin, president of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic which is a focus of Russia’s fighting in Ukraine, blamed it on “terrorists of the Ukrainian regime who are trying to kill Alexander Dugin”.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, denied Ukraine’s involvement, telling national television that “We are not a criminal state, unlike Russia, and definitely not a terrorist state.”
Analyst Sergei Markov, a former adviser to Putin, told Russia’s state news agency RIA-Novosti that Alexander Dugin, not his daughter, was likely the intended target, saying “it is completely obvious that the the most likely suspects are Ukrainian military intelligence and the Ukrainian Security Service.” .”