Russian nationalist ideologue and powerful Putin ally Alexander Dugin’s daughter Darya Dugina was killed in a car bomb explosion near Moscow, on Sunday. The explosion occurred in an SUV that was driving the 29-year-old home after attending a cultural festival with her father.
It was reported by Russian media that her father had rearranged his travel plan at the last minute, and was using another vehicle. Denis Pushilin, head of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine, a front for Russia’s fighting, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the attack was carried out by “terrorists of the Ukrainian regime, trying to kill Alexander Dugin”.
Several Kremlin-linked officials have threatened to strike Ukraine after the car bomb in Moscow killed Darya, a prominent pro-war ideologue, in the first attack in the Russian capital since the war began.
While Ukrainian officials denied having any involvement, Russia warned of increased attacks around Ukraine’s Independence Day on August 24, which will also mark six months since the war began. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his regular video address that Russia may attempt something particularly nasty and cruel this week, as “such is the nature of our enemy”.
Over the past week, several Russian missile-carrying warships have arrived in the Black Sea, according to Ukraine’s Southern Military Command. Kharkiv, in northern Ukraine, has imposed a 36-hour curfew, while mass gatherings have been prohibited in Kyiv.
A video taken immediately after the explosion shows Dugin staring at the burning wreck in shock, and the road littered with rubble. Although the Russian government has not commented on the incident, Kremlin-linked propagandists have accused Ukraine even before investigators can complete their investigation. According to Margarita Simonyan, one of Putin’s favourite pro-war TV pundits, missile strikes should be targeted at Ukraine’s “decision-making centres”.
In the meantime, Tsargrad TV, where Dugin is the editor and Darya Dugina was a commentator, said that “Kyiv should shake”. The Ukrainian military towed dozens of rusted and broken captured Russian tanks into central Kyiv in the lead-up to Independence Day, an event that is likely to irritate the Russian President, who was expecting the city to be captured within days.
The Russians also attacked Odessa, a Ukrainian port city on the Black Sea that plays a crucial role in the UN-organised grain export program. The Southern Military Command of Ukraine reported that five cruise missiles were fired from the Black Sea region. While two missiles were shot down by the air defence systems, three hit grain infrastructure. According to Russia, ammunition sites had also been hit, although no casualties were not reported.
Since the beginning of the war, Russian forces have also controlled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe.
Who Is Alexander Dugin?
The 60-year-old Alexander Dugin is a well-known writer, political theorist, and analyst, who has had an intellectual influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has authored more than 30 books, and is referred to as “Putin’s philosopher” or “Putin’s brain”. The idea of his significant influence is supported by some Russian watchers, while others believe it to be minimal. According to the Washington Post, Dugin became nationally known as a writer for the Den, a right-wing newspaper in the 1990s. Due to his ultra-nationalistic and anti-Western views, and his vision of a powerful and aggressive Russia, Dugin long advocated the unification of Russian-speaking territories and other areas into a vast Russian empire. The National Bolshevik Front, the Eurasia Party, and the National Bolshevik Party are just a few of the nationalist and pan-Russian groups that Dugin helped form domestically. The latter, commonly referred to as Nazbols, was outlawed in 2005 by a Russian court.
In the month of May, earlier this year, the Washington Post noted in an article that “a 1991 manifesto serialised in Den described Russia as an “eternal Rome” facing off against the individualistic, materialistic West”. One of Dugin’s more influential works was the ‘Foundation of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia’, which the Foreign Policy magazine called “a pole star for a broad section of Russian hardliners”.
According to Dugin, the main argument of the work came straight from Karl Haushofer, highlighting the need to stop the conspiracy of ‘Atlanticism’ led by the United States and NATO to contain Russia. He suggested first reassembling the Soviet Union, and then using clever alliance diplomacy to remove the United States and its Atlanticist minions from the continent by forming partnerships with Japan, Iran, and Germany.
It has been no secret that Dugin is a staunch supporter of Putin’s war in Ukraine. In addition, US sanctions were imposed on him because of his links with militants in eastern Ukraine. In addition to promoting Novorossiya (New Russia), he is considered the ideological architect of Putin’s Ukraine policy. A Ukrainian independent state would be a “huge threat” to all of Eurasia, according to Dugin, and the total military and political control of the whole Black Sea region was an “absolute imperative” for the Russian government. According to an essay in the New York Times, he has also advocated that Ukraine become a “purely administrative sector” of Russia.
Several of Dugin’s friends quickly said that he was the explosion’s intended target, and blamed Kiev, which denied any involvement in the tragedy. Darya Dugina’s death, according to Mykhailo Podolyak, a key adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was caused by internal turmoil in Russia rather than any military intervention by the nation. He continued that it is a result of her support for the war. “Every person is supposed to pay for their words,” he added. No suspects were found right away. It is thought that the event may have heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The separatist Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine’s Donbas is supported by Moscow, and its president, Denis Pushilin, attributed the violence to “terrorists of the Ukrainian dictatorship, seeking to murder Alexander Dugin”.
Analyst Sergei Markov, a former Putin adviser, told Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that Aleksandr Dugin, not his daughter, was the likely intended target. He said, “It’s completely obvious that the most probable suspects are Ukrainian military intelligence and the Ukrainian Security Service.”