A well-known military blogger and staunch supporter of President Vladimir Putin was killed in an explosion at a cafe in Russia’s second-largest city on Sunday. War against Ukraine. Officials on Monday announced the arrest of a Russian woman in connection with the explosion, claiming she had taken a bust of the blogger to the cafe as a bomb.
Vladlen Tatarsky was killed while leading a discussion at a cafe along the Neva River in the historic center of St. Petersburg, Russian officials said. According to the Ministry of Health of Russia, about 30 people were injured in the explosion.
Russian media and military bloggers said Tatarsky was meeting with members of the public when a woman presented him with a box containing an apparently blown-up bust of him. A patriotic Russian group that organized the event said it had taken security precautions but admitted those measures “proved insufficient.”
In comments recorded on video, a witness said a woman who identified herself as Nastya asked questions during the discussion and exchanged comments with Tatarsky. The witness, Alisa Smotrova, quoted Nastya as saying she made a bust of the blogger but was told to leave it by the door by guards, suspecting it might be a bomb. Nastya and Tatarsky joked and laughed. Then he went to the door, took the bust and presented it to Tatarsky.
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He reportedly placed the bust on a side table, and the explosion occurred. Smotrova described people running in panic, some injured by broken glass and covered in blood.
Russia’s National Investigative Committee said in a message on its official channel on the Telegram messaging app that 23-year-old St. Petersburg woman Doria Tripova was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the bombing.
Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs later released a video showing Tryopova admitting to bringing the exploding bust to the cafe. In the video Triopova said she carried the bust, but when asked by an unidentified interviewer who gave it to her, she refused to answer, saying she would provide the information “later,” according to the ministry.
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia
Russian news agencies earlier said Tryopova had previously been detained for taking part in an anti-war rally.
Videos posted on the Russian messaging app Channel showed tables and chairs in the cafe broken after the explosion, and blood stains and glass shards littering the floor.
Russian media said investigators were looking at the bust as a possible source of the explosion but did not rule out the possibility that an explosive device had been planted in the cafe before the incident.
The Investigative Committee, the Russian government’s top criminal investigation agency, has opened an investigation into the alleged murder.
No one publicly claimed responsibility, but military bloggers and patriotic commentators immediately pointed the finger at Ukraine and compared the bombing to the killing of nationalist TV commentator Daria Dugina last August. He was killed when a remote-controlled explosive device planted in his SUV detonated while driving on the outskirts of Moscow.
Russian authorities have blamed Ukrainian military intelligence for Dugina’s death, but Kiev has denied involvement.
In response to the latest incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tatarsky’s activities had “won him hatred of the Kiev regime” and noted that he and other Russian military bloggers have long faced threats from Ukraine.
Dugin’s father, Alexander Dugin, a nationalist philosopher and political theorist who strongly supports the invasion of Ukraine, hailed Tatarsky as an “immortal” hero who died to save the Russian people.
“There should be no negotiations with terrorists other than their unconditional surrender,” Dugin said. “A victory parade must be held in Kiev.”
Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian authorities have refrained from claiming responsibility for various fires, explosions and apparent killings in Russia. At the same time, officials in Kiev welcomed such events with glee and insisted on Ukraine’s right to attack Russia.
A top Ukrainian government official carried out the explosion as part of the internal turmoil that killed Tatarsky.
“Spiders eating each other in a jar,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter in English. “It was only a question of time when domestic terrorism would become a tool of internal political struggle.”
Tatarsky, who filed regular reports from Ukraine, was the pen name of Maxim Fomin, who amassed more than 560,000 followers on his Telegram messaging app channel.
Born in Ukraine’s industrial heartland of Donbas, Tatarsky worked as a coal miner before starting a furniture business. When he was in financial trouble, he committed a bank robbery and was sentenced to prison. He escaped custody after a Russia-backed separatist rebellion swept through Donbas in 2014, weeks after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. He then joined separatist rebels and fought on the front lines before turning to blogging.
Tatarsky was known for his smoky accent and pro-war rhetoric.
After the Kremlin Addition of four regions Last year in Ukraine, which most of the world rejected as illegal, Tatarsky posted a video in which he promised: “This is it. . . God be with you.”
Military bloggers have played an increasingly prominent and influential role in the flow of information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They almost universally achieved the campaign’s goals but occasionally criticized Russian military tactics and strategic decisions.
At the same time, the Kremlin has stifled alternative voices opposing the war by shutting down news outlets, limiting public access to information, and jailing critics.