Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has said it had already solved the case of a car bombing attack that killed a known ultranationalist, hawkish commentator in Moscow on Saturday night.
Daria Dugina, 29, the daughter of Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, who is a longtime proponent of imperialist Russia and has called for stepping up attacks on Ukraine, was killed in a planned car bombing attack on a Moscow highway. Dugina herself was known in ultranationalist and hawkish circles as a commentator who was outspoken in her support for the invasion of Ukraine.
She regularly appeared on Russian state television and was an ardent supporter of what Russia characterizes as its “special military operation” in Ukraine. She was in a Toyota Land Cruiser after attending a festival with her father when the explosion occurred.
Russia’s state-run news agency TASS quoted Andrei Krasnov, who knew Dugina, that the vehicle belonged to her father and that he was probably the intended target. At the last minute, the pair decided to switch cars. Her father was seen in photographs at the scene, holding his head in his hands as the SUV burned in the background.
FSB Claims Ukrainian Woman Responsible For the Bombing
The FSB has told Russian-state-run media outlets that Ukrainian intelligence had hired a woman contractor to conduct the assassination. This female contractor arrived in mid-July with her daughter.
The woman, Natalia Vovk, and her daughter Sofya Shaban, aged 12, rented an apartment in the same apartment building as Dugina to learn about her daily movements and routine. They drove a Mini-Cooper that had three sets of license plates.
The vehicle carried a license plate of the Donetsk People’s Republic – E982XH DPR when the pair entered Russia; while in Moscow; a license plate of Kazakhstan 172AJD02, and when leaving; a Ukrainian license plate AH7771IP upon entering Estonia shortly after the bombing. “The materials of the investigation have been handed over to the Investigative Committee,” the FSB said.
The FSB stated that Vovk then attended the music festival “Tradition” and planted an explosive device on the Land Cruiser. She followed the vehicle, command-detonated a bomb, and immediately fled via the Pskov region to Estonia, the FSB reported.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow would point to a policy of “state terrorism” being pursued by Kyiv over this car bombing. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the attack.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, speaking on Ukrainian national television, said, “I confirm that Ukraine, of course, had nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state, like the Russian Federation, and moreover we are not a terrorist state.”
Who Is Daria Dugina and Her Father Alexsandr Dugin?
Dugina and her father were both sanctioned by the U.S. and the UK for spreading disinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In July the UK characterized her as “a frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine.”
The U.S. sanctioned Dugina as the chief editor of United World International (UWI), which reportedly shared disinformation and suggested Ukraine would “perish” if it became part of NATO. UWI was designated for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s Chef” and the owner of the PMC Wagner Group.
Dugina’s father was associated with the website Geopolitica, which allegedly published false accusations that the U.S. and NATO provoked war with Russia.
Her father, Dugin, is a philosopher who is a longtime proponent of anti-Western views and is an outspoken advocate for Russian imperialism. He’s known as “Putin’s brain,” and is a well-respected voice in Moscow among the more hawkish circles. He called war with Ukraine “inevitable” in 2014 and proposed annexing Crimea shortly before it happened.
Dugin was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for his control of the disinformation site Geopolitica, a website that serves as a platform for Russian ultra-nationalists to spread disinformation and propaganda targeting Western and other audiences. On February 8, 2022, Geopolitica published an article that falsely accused the U.S. and NATO of provoking war with Russia in order to “further terrorize the American people in all sorts of malicious ways.”
Killing Dugina or her father runs counter to Ukrainian aims, especially with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warning Ukrainians to prepare for Russian escalation attacks on August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day, coinciding with the six-month anniversary of the invasion.
Ukraine is constantly seeking to portray itself as the “good” and the Russians as the “evil’ in this war. Conducting an assassination so publicly would be acting in the exact opposite light of this, especially with a public, minor target.
This, at first glance, seems very much like an FSB operation that could be the result of inside political intrigue or a false flag operation that would justify an escalation of hostilities against Ukraine.
Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.