MOSCOW • The daughter of an ultra-nationalist Russian ideologue who advocates Russia absorbing Ukraine was killed in a suspected car bomb attack outside Moscow on Saturday evening, Russian state investigators said yesterday.
Ms Darya Dugina, whose father Alexander Dugin is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, was killed after a suspected explosive device detonated in the Toyota Land Cruiser she was travelling in on a highway near the village of Bolshie Vyzyomy, some 40km outside Moscow, Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement.
Russia's Tass state news agency quoted Mr Andrei Krasnov, someone who knew Ms Dugina, as saying the vehicle belonged to her father and that he was probably the intended target.
Father and daughter had been attending a festival outside the Russian capital Moscow, and Mr Dugin had decided to switch cars at the last minute, government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.
TV footage accompanying the statement showed investigators collecting fragments from the spot where the explosion happened.
Investigators, who described Ms Dugina as a journalist and political expert, said they had opened a murder inquiry and would be carrying out forensic examinations to try to determine exactly what had happened. They added that they were considering "all versions" when it came to working out who was responsible for the crime.
The head of one of Ukraine's breakaway separatist regions blamed the blast on Kyiv authorities. "The Ukrainian regime terrorists tried to liquidate Alexander Dugin, but blew up his daughter," Donetsk People's Republic chief Denis Pushilin wrote on Telegram.
Russian foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram that "if the Ukrainian theory is confirmed... and it must be verified by competent authorities, it will amount to state terrorism on the part of the Kyiv regime".
Mr Dugin, sometimes called "Putin's Rasputin" or "Putin's brain", is an outspoken Russian ultra-nationalist intellectual.
He has long advocated the unification of Russian-speaking and other territories in a vast new Russian empire. Mr Dugin wants that empire to include Ukraine where Russian forces are currently carrying out what Moscow calls a "special military operation" to demilitarise Ukraine.
The influence of Mr Dugin, who is on a US sanctions list, over President Putin has been a subject for speculation, with some Russia watchers asserting that his sway is significant and others calling it minimal.
Ms Dugina, who also went by the surname Platonova and was reported by Russian state media to be 30 years old, broadly backed her father's ideas and had appeared on state TV in her own right to offer support for Russia's actions in Ukraine.
In a statement in March, the US Treasury said Ms Dugina, the chief editor of the United World International website, which has suggested Ukraine would "perish" if admitted to the Nato military alliance, had been put on a Washington sanctions list.
In July, Britain put her on a list of sanctioned Russians for allegedly spreading online disinformation about Ukraine.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS