There's plenty of finger-pointing going on following the murder of Daria Dugina, the daughter of Vladimir Putin ally Alexander Dugin, in a car bombing outside Moscow on Saturday night. "We are waiting for the results of the investigation," but if Ukraine is responsible, "then we have to be talking about a policy of state terrorism being realized by the Kyiv regime," a rep for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Sunday, per the New York Times. Ukraine officially denied involvement in the bombing that shattered the windows of homes near the scene in the Moscow suburb of Odintsovo. Alexander Dugin—an ultranationalist philosopher who'd called for an escalated assault on Ukraine—was the reported target.
He and his daughter were reportedly intending to leave a nationalist festival together, but he took another car at the last minute. That left Dugina, a 29-year-old journalist sanctioned by the US and Britain for spreading disinformation about Ukraine, as the sole occupant of his car. "The rare attack on a member of the pro-Kremlin elite—reminiscent of the fiery assassinations of Moscow’s chaotic 1990s—had the potential to further upend Mr. Putin's efforts to make progress in the war in Ukraine while maintaining a sense of normalcy at home," per the Times. However, "there has been no indication that [Kiev] could conduct an audacious attack so close to the Russian capital," the outlet reports.
Still, Ukraine has banned large gatherings for four days from Monday, a period that includes the country's 31st anniversary of independence, in fear of Russian actions, per the Guardian. Kremlin critics have suggested the attack was a false flag event meant to give justification for escalating the conflict in Ukraine, in line with Dugin's wishes. Another theory, put forth by former member of the Russian Duma Ilya Ponomarev, is that the National Republican Army, an underground group working to overthrow Putin from inside Russia, is responsible, per the Guardian. "This attack opens a new page in Russian resistance to Putinism," Ponomarev claimed. (Read more Russia stories.)