The killing of Russia's Dugina: who did it?


FILE PHOTO: Flowers and candles are placed next to a portrait of media commentator Darya Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb attack, in Moscow, Russia August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist ideologue, was killed on Aug. 20 when a car bomb ripped through the Toyota Land Cruiser she was driving.

WHO WAS BEHIND THE KILLING?

- U.S. intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government approved the attack near Moscow, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified officials.

The United States took no part in the attack, either by providing intelligence or other assistance, the Times quotes officials as saying.

- Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack.

Just two days after the murder, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had solved the case, naming a Ukrainian woman it said had trailed Dugina for weeks, rented an apartment in her housing complex and planted the car bomb before fleeing Russia to Estonia - all with Kyiv's backing.

A week later, the FSB said it had identified a second member of a Ukrainian "sabotage and terrorist group" that was involved in the killing, releasing CCTV footage of a man who it said helped assemble the car bomb in a rented garage in Moscow, secured fake documents and Kazakh number plates for the main perpetrator and also left to Estonia hours before the murder.

- Ukraine has rejected Russia's claims as "propaganda" and said the assassination could be the result of an internal power struggle among Russia's elite.

WHO WAS DUGINA?

Dugina, 29 at the time of her death, was the daughter of Alexander Dugin, a prominent Russian nationalist.

Dugina was also prominent in Russia's ultra-conservative nationalist circles and was a fierce backer of Russia's war in Ukraine, regularly appearing on state TV channels as a pro-war commentator.

In March, the United States sanctioned Dugina, saying she was involved in a disinformation media outlet controlled by Yevgeniy Prighozin, the founder of the Wagner Private Military group and nicknamed "Putin's Chef".

In a message to her family, President Vladimir Putin said Dugina was a "bright, talented person with a real Russian heart - kind, loving, sympathetic and open". He called her murder a "vile, cruel crime".

WHO IS DUGIN?

Dugin has been a long-time agitator for the revival of a Russian empire, and has advocated Moscow annex Ukraine and other Russian-speaking parts of the former Soviet Union.

He has no official ties to the Kremlin and speculation continues about his influence and connections to Putin.

The United States first sanctioned Dugin in 2015, saying he was a leader of the Eurasian Youth Union, which Washington said recruited people with military and combat experience to fight on behalf of the Donetsk People's Republic.

The United States says Dugin has spread Russian ultra-nationalist propaganda.

Dugin told mourners his daughter had died for Russia.

Acquaintances initially said they believed Dugin was the target of the attack and that the pair were due to travel in the same Toyota Land Cruiser that was targeted until a last minute change of plan.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Alex Richardson)

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