Just over a day later, the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that it had solved the murder of Daria Dugina. The FSB blamed the Ukrainian special services, and named Ukrainian citizen Natalia Vovk, who had fled to Estonia, as the direct perpetrator. Nevertheless, there are a lot of questions that still remain unanswered.
The news that an explosion claim the life of Daria Dugina (often referred to in the media as Daria Platonova), near the village of Bolshiye Vyazemi late in the evening of August 20, has spread throughout the former Soviet Union. The media quoted a local eyewitness as saying that he had heard three or four explosions. Law enforcers almost immediately qualified the explosion as an act of terrorism. It was learned that unknown persons had rigged a 400-gram TNT explosive under the bottom of the Toyota Land Cruiser, leaving Daria Dugina with no chance of survival.
Late Saturday night, August 20, Dugina was returning along the Mozhaisk highway from the Tradition festival, which she had attended with her father, the philosopher Alexander Dugin.
In fact, Dugin himself was in the next car, so the explosion took place right in front of his eyes.
Tradition is a family festival by the writer and politician Zakhar Prilepin (real name Evgeny Prilepin) and theater director and producer Eduard Boyakov. The festival has been held at the Zakharovo estate in the Moscow region since 2015.
“A festival for the whole family” is the official slogan of Tradition. This year, the organizers promised that more than 50 events will take place on the festival grounds such as lectures, performances, master classes, a fair, and stalls with Russian national food.
The program of the festival included the Danilov Monastery Choir, the Kalinov Most rock band, the Sirin Ensemble of Old Russian Singing, poet Dmitry Vodennikov, poet and war correspondent in Donbass Anna Dolgareva, pop rock band Django, and others.
A lecture by philosopher and International Eurasia Movement leader Alexander Dugin titled ‘Tradition and History’ was announced for 6 p.m. “Why is Tradition Anti-History? What is Sacred Space?” was the announced theme of the lecture in the festival program.
Hope Against Hope
As we can see, most of the speakers, starting with Prilepin himself, are musicians, poets, and military correspondents who publicly support special military operation in Ukraine. After the tragedy, on Sunday, Alexander Dugin himself admitted that he and Daria had received numerous threats from Ukraine via social media. Despite this, the organizers of the festival showed the don't-care attitude in terms of the security issues. As it turned out later, no one guarded the parking lot properly, and there were not even cameras. The volunteers, who greeted and accompanied the cars in the parking lot, when darkness fell, simply went home.
The death of Daria Dugina provoked enormous controversy among the Russian experts. “Decision-making centers!” Russia Today editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan wrote in her Telegram channel, alluding to the Defense Ministry's statement to strike at decision-making centers in Ukraine.
“They blew up Daria for some reason. She wasn't evil,” political strategist Gleb Pavlovsky, who fell into opposition after being cut off from the Kremlin's budgets, wrote on Facebook* (owned by Meta Corporation, whose activities are banned in Russia because the organization is recognized as extremist – ed. note).
“The choice fell on Dugin, but what I can't stop thinking about is the fact that the person who pressed the remote control button of the explosive device. He already knew that Daria, a cheerful blonde girl, was sitting in the car. It is important to understand that the people who are now cheering and rejoicing in her death will not come to their senses. They will not change. It's a rot, it's a wormhole that affects the soul as deeply as possible, and it's incurable,” said poetess and volunteer Anna Dolgareva, who took part in the Tradition festival.
On the contrary, there is glee on the Ukrainian Facebook, where some people are just going wild with joy over the fact that Dugin himself has been harmed.
Questions and Answers
Meanwhile, there are still many unanswered questions in this story. The main question is why Daria Dugina was specifically targeted by the terrorists. According to the official version, the perpetrator knew that Alexander Dugin himself was not in the car. Moreover, the terrorist followed Dugin's car and detonated the explosive device with the push of a button, knowing full well that Dugin himself would not be harmed and that his daughter would be killed.
Was it the hope for a powerful resonance? But in Ukraine, Daria Dugina is unknown to almost no one. In Russia, she belonged to the third echelon of political experts at the best. With all due respect, however, Daria Dugina is first and foremost her father's daughter who moved in a rut, following the achievements of a parent. All in all, this question still remains unanswered.
It is also worth pointing out the location of the terrorist attack, which is on the Mozhaisk highway in the Odintsovo urban district which is about 18 km from a place of blast to the Rublevo-Uspensky highway. Could it be that the terrorists wanted to demonstrate that they are capable of carrying out terrorist attacks in the near Moscow suburbs, where Rublevka is at hand? But then it would have been more effective to blow up the Toyota Land Cruiser closer to Moscow. According to FSB information, terrorist Natalya Vovk rented an apartment in the same building in Moscow where Dugina lived a month ago. That is, the terrorists were preparing an attempt on Daria Dugina but not her father.
In Ukraine, Mikhail Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the Presidential Office, was instructed to deflect suspicions from official Kiev and immediately denied any involvement of the Ukrainian authorities in the murder of Daria Dugina.
During Sunday's telethon (in democratic Ukraine, all TV channels broadcast the same program) Podolyak said that “Ukraine certainly had nothing to do with yesterday's bombing, because we are not a criminal state...”
In this context, the appearance of former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev on the air looks like yet another attempt to get official Kiev off and turn the tables on anyone else. Ponomarev left Russia several years ago and is now in Ukraine, where he is unsuccessfully trying to integrate into the political realm. After the failure, he switched to commenting on political events.
So, Ponomarev said on air of one of the YouTube channels that the previously unknown National Republican Army was behind the murder of Daria Dugina. “It [the statement about the involvement in the terrorist attack] came to us through, Rospartizan, the channel that we made. It was quite a long time ago, 3-4 months ago. People came to us and said that 'here we are engaged in guerrilla warfare, by some of the actions that took place in Russia, they were able to prove that it was their actions ...',” Ponomarev said. Since no one has heard such a name until now, it looks like the National Republican Army was invented at bench scale.
Put Things Right
Meanwhile, on Monday, the FSB leadership set the record straight by naming Ukrainian citizen Natalia Vovk as the direct perpetrator of the murder. According to the FSB, Natalia Vovk arrived in Russia together with her daughter Sofia Shaban at the end of July 2022. She rented an apartment in the same house where Daria Dugina lived. After the festival, Vovk followed Dugina's car in her automobile and blew it up on the Mozhaisk highway. The next day, August 21, Vovk, together with her child, left for Estonia via Pskov.
Employees of the Nemesis project, which forms a database of soldiers and officers of the AFU, the National Guard of Ukraine and other military formations, said that back in April they posted on their website a scan and personal data of Nataliya Vovk (maiden name Shaban). According to Nemesis, Nataliya Vovk is a member of the military unit No. 3057 of the National Guard of Ukraine. This is the 12th Brigade of Operational Designation named after Dmytro Vyshnevetsky, which also includes the Azov Regiment (terrorist organization banned in Russia).
So, according to the official version, Daria Dugina was blown up by a member of the National Guard of Ukraine, who fled immediately after the terrorist attack to Estonia. At the same time, a number of questions remain, beginning with why the perpetrators of the attack chose Daria Dugina as a target. There is also a list of not less important questions. Who helped the perpetrator to conduct external surveillance? Who helped rent an apartment in Moscow? Who provided the cell phone service? Through which country did Vovk enter Russian territory? Finally, who provided her with the explosive device? Natalya Vovk did not carry 400 grams of explosives with her across the border in a handbag, did she?
Obviously, the preparation of such a terrorist attack requires at least an experienced and active terrorist cell of several people or even a real terrorist network. Therefore, if the security forces fail to crack down on the terrorist network, chances are that more explosions will be heard tomorrow.
* On March 21, 2022 the American transnational holding company Meta was declared extremist and banned in the Russian Federation. Meta Platforms Inc. is the parent company of the Facebook and Instagram social networks. Facebook and Instagram are also recognized as extremist organizations, and their activity is prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation.