As uncertainty continues to surround the murder of Darya Dugina, the daughter of an influential friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, many have speculated that Putin himself was behind the blast.
Dugina, 29, the daughter of Russian political commentator Alexander Dugin, was killed in a car bombing outside Moscow on Saturday. Her father, 60, is credited as a key architect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Numerous theories and allegations circulated after her death.
Russia’s FSB security services claimed after a brief investigation that a Ukrainian woman was involved in Dugina’s murder, and that the woman fled to Estonia on Sunday. Ukraine has denied any involvement.
Former Russian State Deputy Ilya Ponomarev alleged that Dugin was assassinated by Russian partisans from the so-called National Republican Army (NRA), and that both Dugin and his daughter were targeted.
He claimed the NRA’s mission was to “overthrow” and “destroy Putin.” Ponomarev’s claims could not be verified Newsweek.
Some experts say that Dugina’s death may have been plotted by Putin himself, although no concrete evidence has emerged to support these theories.
British Member of Parliament Tom Tugendhat suggested that Putin may have targeted Dugin for his recent criticism of the Kremlin.
Could Russia’s FSB be involved in Dugina’s death? Newsweek Some experts were asked to weigh in on the matter and debunk the existing claims.
FSB ‘disinformation campaign’
Sergej Sumleny, a German political expert with a special focus on Russia and Eastern Europe, said Newsweek He believes that the Kremlin’s version of Dugina’s murder is “completely fabricated”.
“This is completely beyond rationality,” Sumleny said, pointing to the evidence the FSB produced in an attempt to indict a Ukrainian woman who allegedly arrived in Russia with her daughter in July, renting an apartment in the same location. Created as Dugina and spied on her before killing her.
The FSB released an alleged passport photo of the Ukrainian citizen as well as footage allegedly showing her in Russia. Data Analyst Twitter quickly pointed out that the document was photoshopped.
“We see that what they call evidence is clearly fake, for example, the ID of the woman they say killed Dugina is photoshopped,” Sumleni said.
Sumaleni suggested that the allegations were part of the FSB’s “standard discrediting campaign after every event”.
“Why did they do this? Because they want to spoil the discussion. They want us to dig up all these crazy versions and spend all our precious time debunking them,” he explained.
Does the NRA exist?
Sumlenny said that from a historical perspective, he did not believe that the NRA underground partisan group existed and suggested that it might even be a creation of the FSB.
“I can’t believe it [NRA] Exists, why? Russia is a state with very strong surveillance and a lot of intelligence on all possible groups,” he explained.
In recent history, Russia has had no terrorist networks except for some Islamic terrorist groups in the North Caucasus and a youth gang known as the Primorsky Partisans, which committed crimes in the early 2000s, including two murders. Police, Sumaleni said.
“All other terrorist groups that existed after that were poor FSB creations,” he said.
Sumaleni explained that A Typical FSB policy Attending political discussion clubs in universities, infiltrating them with agents and trying to radicalize these youths to present them as terrorist groups.
He pointed to a “non-existent” terrorist group that Russian officials say is plotting to overthrow the government.
Rights groups and lawyers argued that the charges against the members were fabricated and that they were tortured into confessing. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has also described the SET group as an “imaginary terrorist organization”.
“So this is how Russian terrorist groups are being created,” Sumleny said. “So to think that some anti-Putin liberal pro-European movement has appeared, not infiltrated by the FSB, that has the skills to assemble a bomb, to put a bomb in a car and let it detonate remotely is impossible.”
Given the Kremlin’s official narrative that Ukraine was behind Dugina’s murder, it is only logical that Russia has not yet commented on the existence of the NRA, Sumleni suggested.
“Their unofficial narrative, which they have allowed the ‘underground movement’ to spread, – they also need to be broken. [on opposition]. So they allowed the story to air.”
‘A Patriotic Flame’
Ruslan Trade, a security researcher at the US think tank Atlantic Council, said Newsweek It is understood that Dugina’s killing “sparked a wave of necessary outrage” in Russia, now six months into its war against neighboring Ukraine.
“Dugin is now primarily a symbol, not a tool for the state. His role in the creation of the current Kremlin mythology for Eurasia and the so-called ‘Russian world’ is already over and can be abandoned,” Trad said. “At present, the Russian army needs the flame of victories, of patriotism.”
The Russian state and its proxies already use it Politically motivated murderhe said
“Undoubtedly, this will not be the last episode in Russian history, and an internal order should not be rejected by one of the security agencies.”
Trade also noted that there is tension between Dugin, the main actor behind the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the FSB, which until recently led major operations in Ukraine.
“He [Dugin] Alleges that the agency is not functioning properly and that the military operation has failed. Putin is influenced by Dugin – he is one of his main spiritual advisers and inspires him. Everyone in the Kremlin knows this.”
Echoing Trad’s criticism, Sumleni suggested that the FSB may have killed Dugina to start a campaign to escalate the war.
Doing so could increase the psychosis of war, eliminate the last vestiges of opposition and embolden those who seek revenge, he added.
“Because the picture they broadcast is a picture of a young innocent girl who was killed by evil Nazis in Ukraine. And that’s a strong image, I mean,” Sumleny said.
On Wednesday, the Russian Embassy in the United States strongly criticized the idea that “Russian authorities are responsible for the death of their own citizen, a true patriot of Russia.”
Newsweek The Russian Foreign Ministry and Ponomarev have been contacted for additional comment.