‘Putin’s mastermind’ daughter killed, Russia names suspect
Russia’s top counterintelligence agency on Monday accused Ukrainian spy services of masterminding the murder of the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist ideologue in a car bombing just outside Moscow.
Daria Dugina, the 29-year-old daughter of Alexander Dugin, a philosopher, writer and political theorist who some in the West have described as ‘Putin’s mastermind’, died when an explosive planted in her SUV detonated while she was driving Saturday night.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor agency to the KGB, said Dugina’s murder was « planned and carried out by Ukrainian special services ».
On Sunday, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak denied any Ukrainian involvement in the murder.
In Monday’s statement, the FSB accused a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, of carrying out the murder and then fleeing Russia to Estonia.
The FSB said Vovk arrived in Russia in July with her 12-year-old daughter and rented an apartment in the building where Dugina lived to follow her. He said Vovk and his daughter were at a nationalist festival, which Alexander Dugin and his daughter attended just before the murder.
The agency said Vovk and his daughter left Russia for Estonia after Dugina’s murder, using a different license plate to exit the country.
In a statement released by a close aide, Dugin described his daughter as a « rising star » who was « treacherously killed by enemies of Russia. »
« Our hearts not only yearn for revenge and retaliation, that would be too petty, not in the Russian style, » Dugin wrote. « We only need the win. »
Dugin has been a prominent proponent of the concept of the « Russian World », a spiritual and political ideology that emphasizes traditional values, the restoration of Russia’s global influence, and the unity of all ethnic Russians across the world. He vehemently supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to Ukraine and urged the Kremlin to step up its operations in the country.
The car bombing, unusual for Moscow since the gang wars of the turbulent 1990s, sparked calls from Russian nationalists to respond by stepping up strikes against Ukraine.
The explosion took place as Dugin’s daughter was returning from a cultural festival she had attended with him. Russian media quoted witnesses as saying the SUV belonged to Dugin and that he decided at the last minute to travel in another vehicle.
On Sunday, Denis Pushilin, leader of the Russian-backed « Donetsk People’s Republic » in eastern Ukraine, quickly blamed the explosion on « terrorists of the Ukrainian regime, trying to kill Alexander Dugin ».
Although Dugin’s exact ties to Putin are unclear, the Kremlin frequently echoes the rhetoric in his writings and appearances on Russian state television. He helped popularize the concept of « Novorossiya » or « New Russia » which Russia used to justify the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Dugin, who has been slapped by US and EU sanctions, promoted Russia as a country of piety, traditional values and authoritarian leadership, and spoke dismissively of Western liberal values.
His daughter expressed similar views and had appeared as a commentator on the nationalist television channel Tsargrad, where Dugin had served as editor.
Dugina herself was sanctioned by the United States in March for her work as editor of United World International, a website the United States has called a source of disinformation. The sanctions announcement cited a United World article from that year that claimed Ukraine would “perish” if admitted to NATO.
During an appearance on Russian television last Thursday, Dugina said: “Westerners are living in a dream, in a dream given to them by world hegemony. She called America a « zombie society » in which people opposed Russia but couldn’t find it on a map.