A car bomb meant for Putin’s ‘Rasputin’ killed his daughter, an equally ultra-nationalist Russian voice with a powerful presence in the media. As Darya Dugina, 29-year-old daughter of Alexander Dugin, said to be Putin’s ideological guru, became the unintended victim, the targeted attack might have sent a shiver down the spines of those belonging to the mighty Russian state apparatus who live in the same posh Moscow neighbourhood as the Dugins.
It’s not often that Putin’s allies and mentors are the targets of car bomb attacks in a state known to use tactics like poisoning to hit at critics and opponents. Dugin, by virtue of his advocating Eurasianism that calls for uniting ethnic Russians, survived the assassination attempt only because he had whimsically handed over the keys to his Toyota Land Cruiser to Dugina on deciding to take another car from a village venue where he had just delivered a lecture. Russia may be dinning it into millions of its people through the State-controlled media that it is a Ukraine-sponsored attack. The sceptics may aver that none of Russia’s enemies, including the CIA, might have the reach deep into Moscow to carry out such a brazen ‘hit’. There is even a wild theory that a pro-war group may have instigated the killing to push Russia into scaling up the attack. The fear is will the mysterious bombing be a trigger for escalation of the Ukraine war in which Russia is plodding on six months after Putin ordered the invasion. Not only Dugin but also Dugina was inclined to stress that Russia must go all out to destroy Ukraine even as Zelensky’s troops are striking back at targets in Russian-occupied Crimea. As the suspicion that Ukrainian saboteurs did this, with or without authorisation from Kyiv, has been widely spread, it might just foment more trouble as Moscow would not like to be seen as unable to defend its own citizens and its territory. Ukraine is already bracing for retaliatory attacks on its cities. The war has already wrought unimaginable damage to the world’s economy and the least desirable thing would be for a tiring aggressor in Russia to crank up hostilities in the belief that Ukraine, which is the cradle of Russian civilisation as the likes of Dugin make it out to be, must pay for distancing itself from Russia.