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Remembering Daria Dugina—victim of a Moscow terror strike

Darya Dugina became the first victim of a high-profile political crime under the Putin rule (Photo courtesy: @Levi_godman/Twitter)

The murder in Moscow of Daria Dugina, the daughter of the famous Russian ideologue and architect of the concept of the “Russian world” Alexander Dugin, who many Russian pro-Western liberals see as one of the main advocates of a new post-Soviet empire, was the first high-profile political crime during the Putin-era.

It is very symbolic that assassination of 30-year old Dugina took place at the end of the first six months of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, which began on February 24 this year.

An important detail that could shed light on the mystery of this tragedy was that the Toyota Land Cruiser, which Daria Dugina drove that evening, belonged to her father Alexander. Arriving at the scene, the distraught father, who was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack, saw flaming pieces of metal – all that was left of the car.

The explosive device placed under the bottom of the car had a huge destructive force and was installed with high precision – no doubt a highly professional job. A number of Russian experts saw the signature of foreign special services is visible in the crime. It echoed the killing of the famous Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet, one of the editors of the Russian newspaper Kommersant, when he had moved to Kiev.

And also in the early 2000s, during the Kuchma Presidency , prominent journalist Georgy Gongadze was beheaded, with the alleged participation of Ukrainian special services. Gongadze’s killing preceded by two decades, a somewhat similar execution of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi mission in Turkey.

Daria Dugina spent the last day of her life at the “Tradition” festival, which was inaugurated eight years ago, in 2014, with the support of the conservative Russian elite and ordinary folks.

The revolt by militia, which included ethnic Russians in the eastern regions of Ukraine – the part of industrial and pro-Russian Donbass against the central government in Kiev was warmly welcomed by some influential people in this group.

For several years, the militia formed in the republics, with the support of supporters of the “Russian world” and the sympathy of the Kremlin, waged an armed struggle with the Ukrainian army.

The conflict was frozen after the signing of the Minsk Agreements of 2016 in the capital of Belarus. However, when it became finally clear that the Minsk agreements were not working, on February 24, this year, President Putin launched his special operation in Ukraine.

The “Tradition” festival, where Daria Dugina spent her last day of life, has been gathering field commanders, veterans of the war with Kiev for the independence of the republics, who have long called for abandoning the Minsk Agreements, journalists, writers, musicians, actors, representatives of the creative intelligentsia, the expert community and the business elite, soaked in the idea of the “Russian world”. On August 21, these people received a severe blow and found themselves in a state of deep shock – Daria Dugina died, and her father, devastated by the news, was hospitalised.

Despite the fact that Daria Dugina is perceived as merely a follower of her father’s work and a repeater of his ideology, she was a rising star of the youth movement in her own right– passionate about the ideas of a special, Eurasian way of Russia.

Knowing her personally, I can say that she was one of the brightest and most talented representatives of the first generation, which was born, raised and showed themselves to the world already in independent Russia. A graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy at Moscow University, she poured out quotations from Kant and Hegel, could recall Ecclesiastes and used her impressive baggage of humanitarian knowledge in disputes about Russia, its place in the world and the relations of the “Putin empire” with the West and the East.

A few months before her death, she was invited for the first time as an expert to take part in the political talk show “Time will Show” on the First Channel of Russian television.

I remember how I said the first encouraging words to her before the broadcast, so that she could more easily cope with the excitement.

But in the end, she performed brilliantly then.

After that, her performances on television were always distinguished by depth, vivid journalism, and I tried my best to advise her what to read and what techniques to use against extremely aggressive opponents in order to put them in their place in time.

I must say that while her father gained a reputation as a staunch anti-Westerner, I still cannot call her a fighter against the West, where she also studied and received an education, having studied French and English perfectly. Rather, her views were close to those in Europe, who sharply criticize their own political establishment and the EU bureaucratic leadership in Brussels for losing a sense of reality, but still remaining part of Europe.

I would rather call her the Russian Marie Le Pen in her youth, who did not become just a copy of her father’s ambiguous reputation.

In addition, she was very interested in India and South Asia and often spoke on Indian talk shows.

It is noteworthy that her murder did not trigger any condemnation of a heinous terrorist act in the so-called Western strongholds of world democracies.

Given the current state of animosity, it would be foolish to expect that the US State Department or the British Foreign Office would suddenly squeeze out a word of regret or concern. After all the deceased was included in the sanctions lists and was listed in the first ranks of the enemies of the West. Well, if your enemy is being killed, even if this murder looks like a terrorist attack, so why talk about it out loud and call it a terrorist attack?

At any rate the targeting of Dugina demonstrates that another line has been crossed in the conflict between Eurasia and the West that is being staged in Ukraine. After the assassination, it would foolish not to expect retaliation at an appropriate time from Moscow.

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(Sergei Strokan is a veteran journalist, writer and columnist of the Kommersant publishing house based in Moscow. The views expressed are personal and exclusive to India Narrative)