Who was the target of the alleged bomb attack, last Saturday night, in which the daughter of Russian ultra-nationalist philosopher and publicist Aleksandr Dugin (60) was killed? Was it 29-year-old Daria Dugina-Platonova herself, the driver of the Toyota Landcruiser and the sole occupant? Or was what was presumably a bomb intended for her father, often described in the media as a “fascist Kremlin ideologue”? Both father and daughter are staunch supporters of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and had many enemies. Both were on the international sanctions list. Dugina’s death has not yet been claimed.
According to family acquaintances, the two would leave the cultural meeting together at an estate outside Moscow, where Dugin gave a lecture on Saturday. At the last minute, he would have gotten into another car. That, plus the fact that Landcruiser was his, makes it not unlikely that Dugin senior was the target of the attack.
The car was torn apart by the powerful explosion, Dugina died on the spot. Video footage via Telegram shows her father shortly after the explosion, walking distraught among the wreckage of the car.
Also read this interview from 2019: Putin adviser Aleksandr Dugin: Baudet is a ticket for the future
Dugina’s death sparked a flurry of speculation about the perpetrator and motive. Both Dugin and his daughter are well-known figures in Kremlin circles. Daria Dugina was a political commentator for her father-led, strongly anti-Western ‘Eurasian movement’, and like him wrote for his news site Tsargrad. In addition, Dugina regularly appeared in pro-Russian media as a France specialist.
Kremlin supporters therefore pointed directly to Ukraine. Foreign spokesman Maria Zakharova threatened with harsh reprisals if it turned out that Kiev was behind the attack. The Ukrainian government denied any involvement in the attack on Sunday. “We are not a criminal government, like the Russian government, and certainly not a terrorist government,” Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podoljak said on Sunday. According to him, the attack would indicate a power struggle within the Kremlin.
Although Dugin is often described by the media as the ‘brain of Putin’, experts say that status is greatly exaggerated. “For years, the Russian fascist Dugin has been building his image as someone who influences Kremlin policy. He was able to convince at least one person – the one who killed his daughter.” wrote Ukrainian researcher Anton Shekhovtsov, expert on Russian far-right circles, on Twitter.
Independent Russian political analyst Tatyana Stanovaja wrote on her Telegram channel on Sunday that the event will have “serious political consequences” in Russia anyway. She foresees a radicalization of the conservative camp around the Kremlin, which will want to take revenge for Dugina’s death. In addition, the murder may increase dissatisfaction within those same circles about what they see as weak Kremlin policies. “The assassination of Dugina creates conditions in which political demands arise for a more radicalized political leadership than Putin’s. The Kremlin will not be able to comply with that.”
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of August 22, 2022
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