(CNSNews.com) – A weekend car bombing outside Moscow that killed the daughter of an ultra-nationalist Russian ideologue has stoked speculation about a link to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine – and brought an uncorroborated claim of responsibility from a purported anti-Putin Russian opposition movement.
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podoliak, rejected insinuations from Moscow that Kyiv was behind the bombing that killed Darya Dugina, daughter of the U.S.-sanctioned political philosopher Alexander Dugin.
“Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with this, because we are not a criminal state, which the Russian Federation is, and even more so, we are not a terrorist state,” Podoliak was quoted as saying.
Earlier, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said investigations were underway but that “if the Ukrainian trace is confirmed … then we are talking about a policy of state terrorism carried out by the Kyiv regime.”
On several of her social media feeds, pro-Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan, head of the RT news service, called for retaliation on “decision-making centers” – which in the context of Russian rhetoric relating to the invasion of Ukraine usually refers to Kyiv.
(Zelenskyy has already been warning Ukrainians that Russia could mount “particularly vicious” attacks ahead of independence day on Wednesday.)
Attention swung in a different direction when Ilya Ponomarev, an exiled former Russian lawmaker and critic of President Vladimir Putin, posted a link to a “manifesto” by a group calling itself the National Republican Army (NRA).
“The NRA opened a second front in the rear of Putin’s fascists,” tweeted Ponomarev. “No warmonger, financier or war ‘volunteer’ is safe anymore.”
Ponomarev, who now lives in Ukraine, was the sole lawmaker in Russia’s 450-seat State Duma to vote against the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In its “manifesto,” posted on Ponomarev’s “Rozpartisan” Telegram channel, the NRA called on “those who are ready to fight to follow our example and overthrow this inhuman, hypocritical and anti-people regime.”
“We declare President Putin a usurper of power and a war criminal who amended the Constitution, unleashed a fratricidal war between the Slavic peoples and sent Russian soldiers to certain and senseless death,” the document reads. “Poverty and coffins for some, palaces for others – the essence of his policy.”
The NRA asked Russians to rally around the “white-blue-white” flag, a banner associated with opposition to the Ukraine invasion (the Russian national flag with the red stripe – “a symbol of blood, war and aggression” – replaced with a white one.)
The NRA said it would target people linked to the Putin regime and “will not attack civilian objects and civilians.”
Russian media commentary widely assumed that the bomb that killed Darya Dugina was aimed at her father. The two were both attending a nationalist event, and Alexander Dugin would have been in the targeted Toyota Land Cruiser but made a last-minute switch to another vehicle.
Darya Dugina, 29, was herself controversial, a propagandist sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department last March for her work as editor of a disinformation website.
The British government sanctioned her on July 4, describing her as a “frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on various online platforms.”
RT quoted Dugina as saying in a podcast, hours before her death, that the invasion of Ukraine was “the last nail in the coffin of the world hegemon.” (RT helpfully explained that the “world hegemon” was the West.)
Alexander Dugin has been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2015 – under an executive order signed by President Obama the day after Putin annexed Crimea – “for being responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The Treasury Department also sanctioned a group led by Dugin, the “Eurasian Youth Union,” which it said had recruited people with combat experience to fight against the Ukrainian government in the self-proclaimed “Donetsk people’s republic.”
‘Anti-globalization, anti-American, anti-liberal’
The state news agency RIA Novosti described Dugin as a “philosopher, political scientist, publicist, professor, [and] founder of the philosophical and political movement of neo-Eurasianism.”
An article in Komsomolskaya Pravda said Dugin’s “fourth political theory” holds that, following liberalism, Marxism and fascism, will rise a system of multipolarity based on an “anti-globalization, anti-American, anti-liberal ideology.” He promotes a new “Eurasian superpower” incorporating Russia and former Soviet republics.
How close to the Kremlin Dugin actually is appears to be in dispute. Some western media reports dubbed him “Putin’s brain” while Russian outlets played down links, and claimed he is little known inside the country.
“[D]espite his reputation in the West, in Russia he has never enjoyed official endorsement from the Kremlin and is largely considered a marginal figure,” said RT.
“In the West, he was called the ‘Kremlin ideologist’ and ‘Putin’s adviser,’ but this was complete nonsense – Dugin claims much more: he wants to formulate an idea that is alternative to liberal globalization as such, the idea of a way to regenerate the human spirit,” wrote RIA Novosti columnist Petr Akopov – who is himself on a Canadian sanctions list of “
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