The daughter of a prominent Russian ultranationalist and close ally of President Vladimir Putin has been killed in a suspected car bombing outside the capital, Moscow, according to state investigators.
Darya Dugina, 29, died after a suspected explosive device detonated, destroying the Toyota Land Cruiser she was travelling in on late Saturday night, investigators in the Moscow region said in a statement on Sunday.
Dugina is the daughter of Alexander Dugin, an ideologue who has long advocated for unifying Russian-speaking regions and territories as part of a new Russian empire. His is believed to be an influential voice in shaping Putin’s worldview and approach to Ukraine, although the extent of his sway on the Russian leader’s thinking is debated.
State news agency TASS quoted Andrei Krasnov, who said he knew Dugina personally, as saying the vehicle belonged to her father and that he was probably the intended target.
Russian newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported that the father and the daughter had been attending a cultural festival outside Moscow and had decided to switch cars at the last minute.
Investigators said they had opened a murder case and would be carrying out forensic examinations.
They did not immediately name a suspect in the incident, but their statement on Sunday said they were considering “all versions” of events.
TV footage showed investigators collecting debris and fragments from the portion of the highway where the explosion occurred near the village of Bolshie Vyzyomy.
Dugina, whom investigators described as a journalist and political expert, was a media figure in her own right, often appearing as a commentator on the nationalist TV channel Tsargrad and broadly expressing views similar to her father’s, who some analysts have called “Putin’s brain” or “Putin’s Rasputin”, referring to Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, who insinuated himself with the last emperor of Russia, Nicholas II.
Dugin was sanctioned by the United States following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine in 2014.
Dugina was a prominent defender of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Dasha, like her father, has always been at the forefront of confrontation with the West,” Tsargrad said on Sunday, using the familiar form of her name.
But Denis Pushilin, president of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic that is a focus of Russia’s fighting in Ukraine, blamed it on “terrorists of the Ukrainian regime, trying to kill Alexander Dugin”.