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Russia Opens Murder Investigation After Blast Kills Daughter of Putin Ally with video

Darya Dugina, the daughter of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, has been killed in a suspected car bombing in Moscow.

BBC NEWS Video

Daria Dugina was the daughter of an ultranationalist who has urged the Kremlin to escalate its assault on Ukraine. The rare attack on a member of President Putin’s inner circle could upend his efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy.

The daughter of an influential Russian writer was killed on a highway west of Moscow.

A car bomb in a Moscow suburb killed the adult daughter of a Russian ultranationalist who helped lay the ideological foundation for President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a brazen attack that injected new uncertainty into the nearly six-month-long war.

The Russian authorities said on Sunday that they had opened a murder investigation into the death a night earlier of Daria Dugina, 29, after the Toyota Land Cruiser she was driving exploded on a highway 20 miles west of Moscow and burst into flames, scattering pieces across the road.

Ms. Dugina was the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin — a self-educated philosopher and long a leading proponent of an aggressive, imperialist Russia who has been urging the Kremlin to escalate its assault on Ukraine.

Russian state television described the powerful explosion that shattered the windows of nearby homes as a “terrorist act” that had targeted Mr. Dugin and ended up killing his daughter because he took a different car at the last minute.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

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A Ukrainian official disavowed his country’s involvement. But pro-Kremlin commentators and politicians quickly blamed Ukraine and demanded revenge. The Kremlin, though, was quiet. Neither Mr. Putin nor his spokesman had issued a statement as night fell in Moscow.

The rare attack on a member of the pro-Kremlin elite — reminiscent of the fiery assassinations of Moscow’s chaotic 1990s — had the potential to further upend Mr. Putin’s efforts to make progress in the war in Ukraine while maintaining a sense of normalcy at home. It came after a spate of Ukrainian attacks deep behind the front line in Crimea, and as many of the war’s most ardent cheerleaders — including the ultranationalists in Mr. Dugin’s circle — have been calling on Mr. Putin to launch a harsh new assault in retaliation.

 

Russia’s Investigative Committee — the country’s version of the F.B.I. — said in a statement that Ms. Dugina had died at the scene of the blast in the Odintsovo district, an affluent area of Moscow’s suburbs. Images and videos circulating on Russian social media showed a vehicle engulfed in flames and a man who appeared to be Mr. Dugin pacing back and forth, holding his hands to his head. These images could not be immediately verified.

Zakhar Prilepin, a popular conservative writer, said in a post on his Telegram channel that Mr. Dugin and his daughter were at a nationalist festival on Saturday but had left in different cars.

A senior Ukrainian official said his country was not responsible for the attack.

“Ukraine certainly had nothing to do with yesterday’s explosion,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said in televised comments on Sunday morning. “We are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation, much less a terrorist one.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria V. Zakharova, wrote on Telegram that if Ukraine had been responsible, “then we have to be talking about a policy of state terrorism being realized by the Kyiv regime.”

Daria Dugina followed in her father’s footsteps as a commentator who combined hawkish, imperialist views with jargon-laden political philosophy.

On Thursday, two days before her death in a car bombing outside Moscow, she argued on a state television talk show that “the Western man lives in a dream — a dream that he got from his global hegemony.” On Friday, she delivered a lecture on “mental maps and their role in network-centric warfare,” describing atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, as a staged event.

And before she died on Saturday, she attended a nationalist festival with her father outside Moscow called Traditions. In a selfie posted by Akim Apachev, a Russian nationalist musician, Ms. Dugina, 29, appeared beside her father, Aleksandr Dugin, with a military camouflage jacket tied around her waist.

“The enemy is at the gates,” Mr. Apachev wrote on social media on Sunday. “Rest in peace, Daria. You will be avenged!”

Last month, the British government imposed sanctions on Ms. Dugina, citing her as a “frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on various online platforms.” The United States imposed sanctions on her in March, describing her as the chief editor of an English-language disinformation website owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef.”

She was a co-author of a forthcoming book on the war in Ukraine called “The Z Book,” after one of the identifying markings painted on Russia’s invading tanks. In June, she traveled to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol after Russian forces captured it in a brutal campaign.

Echoing her father, Ms. Dugina’s public commentary provided an ideological framework for Mr. Putin’s aggressive foreign policy. In an interview with a Russian broadcaster hours before her death, she cited the theories of Samuel Huntington and other scholars to describe the war in Ukraine as an inevitable clash of civilizations.

 

But the widely read bloggers and commentators who knew her described her death as a tragedy and called for revenge.

“This happened in the capital of our Motherland,” a pro-Kremlin television host, Tigran Keosayan, wrote on social media. Referring to the location of the Ukrainian president’s office, he added: “I don’t understand why there are any buildings still standing on Bankova Street in Kyiv.”

Credit…Tsargrad.Tv, via Reuters
Credit…Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press
Source: nytimes— Anton Troianovski

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