Car Bomb Kills Daughter of 'Putin's Rasputin'

Blast may have been intended to kill her father, the ultranationalist Alexander Dugin
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2022 6:30 AM CDT
Car Bomb Kills Daughter of 'Putin's Brain'
Alexander Dugin in a file photo. His daughter was killed by a car bomb on the outskirts of Moscow.   (AP Photo/Francesca Ebel, File)

A brazen car bomb in Russia killed the daughter of a prominent ally of Vladimir Putin Saturday night, and while Ukraine has officially denied responsibility, it is also bracing for retaliation. Coverage:

  • The bomb: The blast on a highway on the outskirts of Moscow killed 29-year-old Darya Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, reports the Guardian. She had been driving home alone from a cultural festival she had attended with her father—in his vehicle—and Russian media reports say he may have been the real target, per the BBC. Those reports say Dugin decided at the last minute not to ride with his daughter.
  • The bomb, II: “An explosive device allegedly installed in a Toyota Land Cruiser car went off at full speed on a public highway, and then the car caught fire,” wrote Russian investigators. “The female driver died on the spot. The identity of the deceased has been established: it is the journalist and political scientist Darya Dugina.”

  • 'Putin's brain': Dugina was herself becoming a high-profile personality in the Russian media, but her father has long been a prominent figure and is believed to have a strong influence on Putin. He is sometimes referred to as "Putin's brain" or "Putin's Rasputin," notes the Washington Post. Among other things, he backs the war in Ukraine as part of a push to revive Russia as a world power. Dugin does not hold a government position, but as Will Vernon in the BBC puts it, his "anti-Western, ultranationalist philosophy has become the dominant political ideology in Russia and has helped shape President Putin's expansionist foreign policy, most prominently on Ukraine."
  • More on his philosophy: The New York Times quotes NYU history professor Jane Burbank's writing about Dugin. As she summed up in an March essay: In Dugin's "Eurasianism" view, "Russia had always been an empire, Russian people were 'imperial people,' and after the crippling 1990s sellout to the 'eternal enemy,' Russia could revive in the next phase of global combat and become a 'world empire.'" The Times story takes note of the nickname "Putin's philosopher," though it adds that the actual relationship between the two men isn't clear.
  • Ukraine: Officials in Ukraine immediately denied responsibility—“we are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation, much less a terrorist one," said an adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky—but many in Russian media were nonetheless blaming Kyiv. And the Wall Street Journal reports that Ukrainian officials "have privately confirmed" that Ukraine is behind the attack. Either way, Zelensky warned in his radio address Saturday of retaliation. “We should be conscious of the fact that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty,” he said. “But Russia has done the same constantly each week throughout the past six months.”
(Read more Russia stories.)

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