Early Monday Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Ukraine of being behind the assassination of Darya Dugina, daughter of Alexander Dugin, the man known as Vladimir Putin’s Rasputin. As RedState reported, Dugina was assassinated Saturday night in Moscow, when her vehicle exploded. There’s speculation as to whether Alexander Dugin was the target and narrowly escaped when he decided to take a separate vehicle home instead of riding with his daughter as planned, or if Dugina herself was the target.
Regardless, it was widely thought that if Russia could in any way blame this on Ukraine, that hostilities could quickly and greatly escalate, so it’s not surprising that a Security Alert was issued late Monday by the State Department warning US citizens to leave Ukraine immediately. The alert ignored, however, the quite obvious precipitating event:
The Department of State has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days. Russian strikes in Ukraine pose a continued threat to civilians and civilian infrastructure. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so.
Ukrainian officials have denied any involvement, but according to the FSB, the assassin is a female Ukrainian special services contractor. BBC reports:
The FSB told Russian media that a Ukrainian woman had moved to Russia in July alongside her young daughter – but that she was in fact a Ukrainian special services contractor.
The woman, it said, rented an apartment in the same building as Ms Dugina for a month, preparing for the attack. In that time, she allegedly followed Ms Dugina through Moscow in a Mini Cooper – for which she used three different licence plates.
The suspect then escaped to Estonia after the explosion, the FSB said.
In addition to being a contractor for Ukraine’s special services, Russia’s FSB claims the assassin is a member of Ukraine’s Azov battalion, which Russia has labeled a terrorist organization.
Putin granted Dugina the Order of Courage, a prestigious Russian award, Monday, “for courage and selflessness shown in the performance of professional duty,” according to the Kremlin.
Alexander Dugin and his daughter are both ultra-nationalists who believe in unification of all Russian-speaking territories (including those in Ukraine) by violence if necessary. Dugin issued a statement on Telegram about his daughter’s murder, claiming only victory in Ukraine is needed as revenge:
“My daughter Darya Dugina was brutally murdered in front of me. She was a beautiful Orthodox woman, patriot, war reporter, an expert for central TV and philosopher. Our hearts are not simply thirsting for revenge or retribution….We only need our victory. My daughter sacrificed her young woman’s life to its altar. So please, achieve it!”
There’s still rampant speculation amongst those who watch Eastern Europe closely about who’s really responsible. Some believe the assassination is a result of a power struggle between Russia’s intelligence services, and one former Russian lawmaker, Ilya Ponomaryov, who’s now based in Ukraine, “said a previously unknown group of Russian militants called the National Republican Army was responsible,” according to Reuters. Within Russia, though, Putin doesn’t really need evidence. All he needs to do is claim that Ukraine is responsible, and that gives him the moral imperative to step up attacks on Ukraine and especially the Azov Battalion, while also conducting a quiet-but-thorough investigation into his own intelligence services to determine if there was really an inside job. Sadly, it’s a win-win for Vladimir Putin.