View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
  2. Europe
22 August 2022

Death of Alexander Dugin’s daughter may lead to a drastic escalation of war in Ukraine

The philosopher and ally of Vladimir Putin is thought to have been the intended target for the car bomb.

By Ido Vock

Darya Dugina, the daughter of the prominent Russian ideologue Alexander Dugin, was killed in a car bomb explosion in the outskirts of Moscow on Saturday. She was returning from a festival where her father had given a speech. Dugin was reportedly planning to return with his daughter in the same car, but changed his mind at the last minute.

Footage published online in the aftermath of the explosion appeared to show a distraught Dugin holding his head in his hands in front of a burning car.

Dugin is a leading proponent of the Russian imperialism that the Kremlin has imposed since 2014, although his influence on Vladimir Putin’s regime has been overstated. As early as 2008, Dugin was calling for Russia to annex the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. In 2014, as Russia did exactly that, he called for Ukrainians to be “killed, killed, killed”. His pet theory of “Eurasianism” envisions Russia leading an empire straddling Europe and Asia as a counterweight to the decadent Western world. Dugina, a regular sight on state TV, shared many of her father’s beliefs.

[See also: Estonia dismisses Russia’s claim it was involved in Darya Dugina killing]

Little is confirmed about the responsibility for the blast. Some Russian media and political figures immediately blamed Ukraine and called for retaliation against Kyiv. Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry, said “we need to start talking about a policy of state terrorism enacted by the Kyiv regime” if Russia confirms Ukraine’s responsibility. Kyiv, for its part, denies any part in the killing. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said: “Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do with this, because we are not a criminal state like Russia, or a terrorist one at that.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

More cryptically, a previously unknown anti-Putin group calling itself the “National Republican Army” (NRA) claimed to have carried out the assassination. The NRA styles itself as a Russian partisan army working within Russia to overthrow the Putin regime. Ilya Ponomarev, a dissident former member of the Russian Duma who now lives in Kyiv, unveiled the NRA manifesto during a broadcast on a Russian-language Ukrainian TV channel.

If confirmed, the emergence of a rebel group using violence within Russia against Kremlin-linked figures would represent a drastic escalation of the war for the Putin regime, now confronted with an additional threat to its survival.

Dugin was likely the intended target of the car bomb. He is associated with the regime and particularly the neo-imperialism it brought to Ukraine, but he is not important enough to merit the security a top government official is afforded. It is possible, however, that his daughter’s killing was the work of the Kremlin, perhaps seeking to silence some of the criticism of its actions from the ultranationalist right. (It is difficult to overstate how little is known at present.)

The assassination comes at a fraught time in the Russia-Ukraine war. In one of those quirks of history, 24 August will mark both Ukraine’s Independence Day and six months since the start of the war (Putin doubtless did not think the fighting would last long enough to make the occasion relevant when he decided to invade on 24 February). Ukraine is already warning that the killing of Daria Dugina may serve as a pretext for Russia to mark the occasion with characteristic brutality.

[See also: Sergei Guriev interview: Russia’s economy “going back to the 1980s”]

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

Topics in this article : , ,
Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU