September 29, 2022

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The announcement made by Russia after the death of Daria Dughina, the daughter of “Putin’s philosopher”

State media identified her as the daughter of Aleksandr Dughin, an outspoken supporter of Russia’s war in Ukraine, whose car she was driving, The New York Times reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident. Russian media said Dughin’s associates believed he, not his daughter, was the target.

A Ukrainian official dismissed the idea of ​​his country’s involvement. However, pro-Kremlin commentators and politicians were quick to blame Ukraine and call for retribution.

Russian investigators said an explosive device had been planted under the car on the driver’s side and that the attack was believed to be “a premeditated murder”.

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Aleksandr Dughin is a self-taught political philosopher frequently described as “Putin’s mastermind,” though the actual relationship between the two men is opaque and, some Kremlin experts say, often exaggerated. But Dughin has long been one of the most visible proponents of the idea of ​​an imperial Russia at the helm of a “Eurasian” civilization locked in existential conflict in the West.

Dughina, 29, was a journalist and commentator who shared her father’s worldview and was sanctioned by the US and UK governments for spreading disinformation about Ukraine.

Russia’s Investigative Committee — the country’s version of the FBI — said in a statement that Dughina died at the scene of the blast in the Odintsovo district, an affluent suburb of Moscow. Images and videos circulating on Russian social media showed a vehicle engulfed in flames and a man who appeared to be Aleksandr Dughin pacing back and forth with his hands on his head. These images could not be immediately verified.

Zakhar Prilepin, a popular conservative writer, said in a post on his Telegram channel that Dughin and his daughter went to a nationalist festival on Saturday but left in different cars. Russian state media described the festival as a relatively low-security event. The Tass news agency (considered a mouthpiece of Kremlin propaganda) quoted an anonymous law enforcement source as saying that there were no security checks at the entrance to the parking lot where the car driven by Dughina was parked.
The incident came as the Kremlin faces increasingly intense questions about its war effort in Ukraine. Prominent supporters of the war – already angered by recent Ukrainian sabotage attacks in Crimea – quickly took to social media to claim that Ukraine was behind Dughina’s death.

“Ukraine certainly had nothing to do with yesterday’s explosion,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said in televised comments Sunday morning. “We are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation, let alone a terrorist one.”

Denis Pushilin, the head of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, wrote on the Telegram social network that “Terrorists of the Ukrainian regime” were behind the bombing.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria V. Zakharova wrote on Telegram that if Ukraine is indeed responsible, “then we have to talk about a policy of state terrorism carried out by the Kyiv regime.”

“We await the results of the investigation,” she wrote.

While it remained unclear how or if Putin would respond to Dughina’s death, the calls for revenge underscored how the most ardent backers of the Ukrainian invasion could still become uneasy allies for the Kremlin — especially if the Russian leader seeks to avoid an escalation of Ukrainian invasion.

“For the Kremlin, any ideological people can be both useful and dangerous,” said Marat Guelman, a Russian political expert now in Montenegro who advised the Kremlin in the early years of Putin’s rule. “Right now, they’re useful. But soon they will become dangerous.”

Daria Dughina, a critic of the “global hegemony” of the West

Daria Dughina followed in her father’s footsteps with her comments about the West.
On Thursday, two days before her death in a bomb attack outside Moscow, she argued on state television that “Western man lives in a dream – a dream he received from his global hegemony “. On Friday, she gave a lecture describing the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Bucha, a suburb of Kiev, as an organized event.

And before she died on Saturday, she attended a nationalist festival outside Moscow called “Traditions” with her father. In a selfie posted by Akim Apachev, a Russian nationalist musician, Dughina, 29, appeared alongside her father, Aleksandr Dughin, wearing a camouflage military jacket tied around her waist.

“The enemy is at the gates,” Apachev wrote on social media on Sunday. “Rest in peace, Daria. You will be avenged!”

Last month, the British government imposed sanctions on Dughina, citing her as “a frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation about Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on various online platforms.” The United States imposed sanctions on her in March, describing her as the editor-in-chief of an English-language disinformation website owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef.”

She co-authored a forthcoming book about the war in Ukraine called “The Z Book,” after one of the identification markings painted on the invading Russian tanks. In June, she traveled to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol after Russian forces captured it in a brutal campaign. She told a Russian state radio station that the Azovstal steel plant was full of “Satanists” and “black energy”.

Dughina’s public commentary provided an ideological framework for Putin’s aggressive foreign policy. In an interview with a Russian broadcaster hours before her death, she cited the theories of Samuel Huntington and other scholars to describe the war in Ukraine as an inevitable clash of civilizations.

“This is liberal totalitarianism, this is liberal fascism, this is Western totalitarianism,” she said, describing what she believed Russia was fighting against. “It’s come to an end.”

Dughina was not well known in Russia beyond ultranationalist and imperialist circles. But bloggers and commentators who knew her described her death as a tragedy and called for revenge.

“This happened in the capital of our Motherland,” wrote a pro-Kremlin TV host, Tigran Keosayan, on social media. Referring to the location of the Ukrainian president’s office, he added: “I don’t understand why there are still buildings on Bankova Street in Kyiv.”

Who is Aleksandr Dughin, “Putin’s philosopher”

Aleksandr Dughin, 60, is a Russian political thinker sometimes called “Putin’s philosopher” who has been a leading advocate of conquering Ukraine.

Dughin has long held an ultra-nationalist position that in recent years has moved closer to Russia’s political mainstream. President Vladimir V. Putin made his philosophy known when he declared the start of his invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Russia, Putin said at the time, was fighting an “empire of lies” led by the Americans.

Originally an anti-communist dissident, Dughin has focused in recent years on influencing the Kremlin and promoting a vision of a reborn Russia whose main enemy is an “Atlantic” world led by the United States.

His thinking is based on the ideas of “Eurasianism”, according to which Russia is a distinct civilization that should create a state spanning the continent, along the lines of its former empire, but without the communist ideology of the Soviet Union. Jane Burbank, professor emeritus of history at New York University, wrote that, in Dughin’s view, after the Soviet Union’s “sellout” to the West in the 1990s, “Russia could revive in the next phase of the global struggle and become a “world empire.”

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