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Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

Hundreds Mourn Putin Aide's Daughter Killed In Car Bomb

Hundreds Mourn Putin Aide's Daughter Killed In Car Bomb

Alexander Dugin -- a vocal supporter of the Kremlin's military campaign who has claimed to be close to President Vladimir Putin -- may have been the intended target of the attack that killed his 29-year-old daughter.

Hundreds gathered Tuesday for the Moscow funeral of Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent ultranationalist intellectual, who was killed in a car bombing that Russia blames on Ukraine.

Alexander Dugin -- a vocal supporter of the Kremlin's military campaign who has claimed to be close to President Vladimir Putin -- may have been the intended target of the attack that killed his 29-year-old daughter.

Ukraine denies any involvement.

Mourners -- many carrying flowers -- paid their respects at a hall in Moscow's Ostankino TV centre where her black-and-white portrait was displayed over an open casket.

Dugin and his wife, both dressed in black, sat next to their daughter's coffin.

"She died for the people, for Russia, at the front. The front -- it is here," Dugin said at the ceremony.

Dugina was killed Saturday when a bomb placed in her car went off as she drove on a highway outside Moscow.

Moscow says Ukrainian intelligence was behind the attack -- a claim dismissed by Kyiv.

Russia's powerful FSB security agency said Monday it had "solved" the crime -- just two days after the incident -- naming a Ukrainian woman as Dugina's attacker.

The FSB said the perpetrator had rented an apartment in the same building as Dugina and followed her in a car, suggesting that Dugina was the intended victim.

However, Russian media reported that Dugin and his daughter had had a last-minute change of plans, with Dugina driving her father's car.

Like father, like daughter

The US Department of State said in a Monday press briefing that it "condemns" targeting civilians while stating that Ukraine had denied any involvement.

"I have no doubt that the Russians will investigate this. I also have no doubt that the Russians will put forward certain conclusions," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Russia's foreign ministry said Washington's reaction "discredits the international activity" of the United States.

"Washington has no moral right... to judge human rights in remote parts of the world, since the murder of a journalist is not even commented on from this angle," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on social media.

Dugin, 60, gained prominence in the 1990s in the intellectual chaos that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union. He had been an anti-communist dissident in the last years of Soviet rule.

He co-founded the opposition National Bolshevik Party but quit it to set up the Eurasian party which calls for Russia to reclaim its former territories and create an empire spanning from Europe to Asia.

Dugin backed Russia's much-criticised 2014 annexation of Crimea, following which he called for a wider attack on Ukraine. He was then put on a Western sanctions list.

A regular on Russian television, the heavily bearded intellectual with the air of a prophet claimed he had an ideological influence on Putin.

Putin has become increasingly hostile towards the West, and some see Dugin's hand in this, calling him "Putin's Rasputin" or "Putin's brain".

While Putin has never publicly supported him, on Monday the Kremlin released a message of condolences from the president, denouncing the "vile crime" that had led to Dugina's death.

Putin posthumously awarded Dugina the "Order of Courage". The medal was displayed near her coffin on the day of the funeral.

Dugina followed in her father's footsteps, becoming a well-known media personality who worked for pro-Kremlin television channels including Russia Today and Tsargrad.

She covered the conflict in the Russian-backed separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine, which she backed.

Like her father, Dugina came under US sanctions at the start of March.

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