Hundreds of people bade farewell to Darya Dugina, the daughter of a prominent right-wing political thinker in Russia, at her funeral after she was killed in a car bombing, hailing her as a martyr.
The 29-year-old was the daughter of ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin, who spoke during a farewell ceremony held on Tuesday, saying with his voice breaking that his daughter “died for the people, died for Russia”.
“The huge price we have to pay can only be justified by the highest achievement: our victory,” he said, standing next to his daughter’s casket, her black-and-white portrait placed behind it. “She lived for the sake of victory, and she died for the sake of victory. Our Russian victory, our truth, our Orthodox faith, our state.”
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has accused Ukraine of organising the murder, but Kyiv has denied it.
Dugina was killed when a remotely-controlled explosive device planted in her SUV blew up on Saturday night as she was driving on the outskirts of Moscow, ripping the vehicle apart and killing her on the spot, authorities said.
Her father Alexander Dugin is a philosopher, writer, and political theorist who is known for his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin including his decision to send troops into Ukraine. It is widely believed that he was the intended target of the bomb attack. Russian media quoted witnesses as saying that the SUV belonged to Dugin and that he had decided at the last minute to travel in another vehicle.
Wednesday will mark the six-month anniversary of Russia’s “special military operation”. The death of Dugina has prompted calls among the Russian elite for revenge, and the US Embassy in Kyiv warned of a possible increase of Russian military strikes.
“I consider it a barbarous crime for which there can be no forgiveness,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“I hope the investigation will be quickly completed and according to the results of this investigation of course there can be no mercy for the organisers, those who commissioned this, and the perpetrators,” he told reporters.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov reaffirmed the denial late Monday, saying that “our special services have no relation to that”.
Russia’s President Putin expressed his condolences to Dugin and his wife in a letter, denouncing the “cruel and treacherous” killing and saying that Dugina “honestly served people and the Fatherland, proving what it means to be a patriot of Russia with her deeds”. He posthumously awarded Dugina the Order of Courage, one of Russia’s highest medals.
The FSB said that a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the killing after arriving in Russia in July with her 12-year-old daughter and renting an apartment in the building where Dugina lived in order to shadow her. It said that Vovk and her daughter were at the nationalist festival that Dugin and his daughter attended.
The agency said that Vovk drove to Estonia after the killing, using a different licence plate for her vehicle. On Monday, the FSB released videos from surveillance cameras purportedly showing her entering and leaving Russia, and also a close-up of her allegedly in front of the entrance to the Moscow apartment building where Dugina lived.
The FSB also posted pictures of her vehicle with different licence plates.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu dismissed the Russian claim, saying in televised remarks that “we regard this as one instance of provocation in a very long line of provocations by the Russian Federation, and we have nothing more to say about it at the moment.”
Dugin, who is known as “Putin’s brain” and “Putin’s Rasputin” by some in the West, has been a vocal supporter, calling for a restoration of Russia’s global influence and dismissing liberal Western values. His daughter shared similar views as she had appeared as a commentator on the TV channel Tsargrad, where Dugin had served as chief editor.
Dugin has been slapped with United States and European Union sanctions, while Dugina was sanctioned by the US in March for her work as chief editor of United World International, a website that Washington has described as a source of disinformation.