Russian authorities said Sunday they had opened a murder investigation after the daughter of influential, ultra-nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin was killed by a car bomb on the outskirts of Moscow.
The Russian Investigative Committee said it believed someone planned and ordered the car explosion that killed Darya Dugina, based on evidence already collected from the blast. “Taking into account the data already obtained, the investigation believes that the crime was pre-planned and was of an ordered nature,” the investigative committee said in a statement Sunday.
Dugina died at the scene after “an explosive device, presumably installed in the Toyota Land Cruiser, went off on a public road and the car caught fire” at around 9.00 p.m. local time on Saturday, near the village of Bolshiye Vyazemy, according to the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee, as reported by the Russian state news agency TASS.
The bomb was detonated remotely, a law enforcement official told TASS Monday. “Presumably, the car was monitored and its movement was controlled,” the unnamed official told the news agency.
Dugina’s father is a Russian author and ideologue, credited with being the architect or “spiritual guide” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He is purported to have significant influence over Russian President Vladimir Putin and was described as “Putin’s Brain” by Foreign Affairs magazine.
Both Dugin and his daughter have been sanctioned by the United States. The United Kingdom sanctioned Dugina in July for being “a frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on various online platform,” it wrote.
Videos of the explosion showed a vehicle on fire at the side of the road and smashed car parts strewn across the surrounding area. One unverified video appears to show Dugin at the scene.
A friend of Dugina told TASS that he believed Dugina’s father was the true target of the blast – or possibly both of them – as the car belonged to Alexander.
“It’s her father’s car,” Krasnov told TASS. “Dasha (Darya) drives another car, but she drove his car today, and Alexander went separately,” Andrei Krasnov, head of the Russky Gorizont (Russian Horizon) social movement and a personal acquaintance of Dugina’s family, told TASS.
Russian officials said the explosive device was attached under the car “on the driver’s side,” and 400g of TNT was used, according to TASS.
A Russian foreign ministry official implied that Ukrainian state structures were responsible for the explosion, a claim that Ukrainian authorities have denied.
“If the Ukrainian trace is confirmed… then we should talk about the policy of state terrorism implemented by the Kyiv regime,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Telegram post. “There have been plenty of facts accumulated over the years: from political calls for violence to the leadership and participation of Ukrainian state structures in crimes,” she said.
Ukraine on Sunday strenuously denied any involvement in the car explosion. “Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state, which the Russian Federation is, and even more so, we are not a terrorist state,” Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said in a Ukrainian TV interview.
‘Flames completely engulfed it’
When Dugina “turned onto the Mozhaiskoye highway near the village of Bolshiye Vyazemi, there was an explosion, the car caught fire immediately,” Krasnov told TASS.
“The flames completely engulfed it. She lost control because she was driving at high speed and flew to the opposite side of the road,” Krasnov added, as cited by TASS.