The Russian authorities stated on Sunday, 21 August, that a murder investigation had been initiated into the killing of Daria Dugina, a political commentator who was the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin, a philosopher and an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Russian state TV described the killing, which took place on the outskirts of Moscow, as a "terrorist act" and even stated that the intended target had been Aleksandr Dugin, who decided to take a different car last-minute.
"This was the father's vehicle. Darya was driving another car but she took his car today, while Alexander went in a different way. He returned, he was at the site of the tragedy. As far as I understand, Alexander or probably they together were the target," said Andrey Krasnov, a friend of Dugina, as reported by The Guardian.
Six months into the Ukraine war, prominent Russian hawks and news anchors have put the blame squarely on the Ukrainian military and have called it an assassination attempt on Aleksandr Dugin.
They are even demanding that the Kremlin respond by targeting government officials in Kyiv. "Decision-making centres!! Decision-making centres!!!" wrote Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of RT television.
Another commentator, a TV host named Tigran Keosayan, wrote on social media, "This happened in the capital of our Motherland. I don't understand why there are any buildings still standing on Bankova Street in Kyiv."
Kyiv has denied any involvement in the attack. "Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state like Russia, or a terrorist one at that," said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Even President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Saturday that "Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel," to Ukraine, and use the car blast as its justification.
Who Are Aleksandr Dugin and Daria Dugina?
Often referred to as "Putin's brain" or "Putin's Rasputin," Dugin started out as anti-communist dissident in Soviet Russia.
In his 1997 publication "The Foundations of Geopolitics," which apparently is also a textbook in the Russian General Staff Academy, Dugin claims that "Ukraine, as a state, has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, and no ethnic exclusiveness."
Around the time after Putin's annexation of Crimea, Dugin had said, in a video address to his followers, "I think we should kill, kill, kill [Ukrainians], there can’t be any other talk."
He is known to be a close ally of the Russian president and his anti-Western philosophies became mainstream in Moscow after Putin became the president in 2000.
Daria Dugina was no less of a hawk, compared to her father. On the day of her death, she had attended a nationalist festival with her father just outside of Moscow.
A day before that, during a lecture, she had described the atrocities committed by the Russian troops in Bucha as a staged event. And a day before that, she had propagated anti-Western ideas on state television, arguing in a talk show that "the Western man lives in a dream – a dream that he got from his global hegemony."
(With inputs from Reuters, The Guardian, and The New York Times.)