The daughter of a man described as the spiritual guide for the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been killed in a car bomb near Moscow.
Darya Dugina, 30, was killed while driving a car that belonged to her father Alexander Dugin, a far-right Vladimir Putin ally, according to state media.
An SUV exploded near Bolshiye Vyazemy in the Moscow Region, authorities told Tass.
Mr Dugin is a Russian nationalist and philosopher who does not hold an official government position, but who is reported to hold influence over the Russian president – and has even been dubbed “Putin’s brain” and “Putin’s Rasputin”.
He has been described as viewing the Ukraine war as part of a wider spiritual battle and having shaped Mr Putin’s ideas on the invasion, as well as general expansionist foreign policy.
His daughter was a political scientist and journalist who held similar views to her father, saying they were “on the same existential ship” in an interview earlier this year.
She called the Ukraine war “a clash of civilisations between globalist and Eurasian”, adding that the West’s “unanimous support” for the besieged country “feels like agony”, in an interview published on Geopolitika, a news and media platform created by her father.
Investigators told Russian state media on Sunday that Ms Dugina had been killed in an explosion.
They said a blast, which is presumed to have come from a device installed in the car, happened on a public road at around 9pm local time on Saturday.
The car, a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, caught fire and the female driver died, authorities said.
The blast happened near Bolshiye Vyazemy village in the Moscow region.
“This was the father’s vehicle,” Andrey Krasnov, the head of the Russian Horizon social movement who knew Ms Dugina, told Tass news agency.
“Darya was driving another car but she took his car today, while Alexander went in a different way.
“He returned, he was at the site of the tragedy. As far as I understand, Alexander or probably they together were the target.”
Media reports suggested both Ms Dugina and her father were at an event together outside of Moscow and were due to travel back together.
Mr Dugin’s links with the Kremlin go back years, with the Putin ally given prominent airtime on the biggest networks to cheerlead during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
He has also been engaged with Russian foreign policy matters, helping Mr Putin to navigate relations with other countries despite not having an official government job.
Mr Dugin used to be head of the sociology department at Moscow State University, but lost his job in 2014 after activists accused him of encouraging genocide in a rant in support of separatists in Ukraine in which he shouted “kill, kill, kill”.
Before Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine this year, he had criticised Mr Putin for not taking more of the country in the previous offensive.
The incident took place within the heavily fortified Black Sea fleet base in Sevastopol on Saturday morning.
The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was shot down, officials in the Russian-controlled area say, and fell onto the roof of a building. The resulting fire sent huge plumes of smoke into the air.
Earlier this week, Moscow installed a new commander of its Black Sea fleet in the wake of a spate of setbacks. At the end of last month, another drone strike hit the same site, injuring six people, which prompted Russia to shore up its defences in Crimea.
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