Latest Breaking News & Hot Updates Around USA OR All Over World

Professor MARK GALEOTTI sees a web of intrigue at the heart of espionage murder

0 140

The fantastic story now being promoted by the Kremlin after the death of Darya Dugina, daughter of controversial Russian nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, is completely predictable.

But the identity of the real perpetrator(s) probably remains as shrouded in mystery as the man they set out to kill. And I believe Alexander Dugin was the target of the car bomb, despite Russia’s claims that his daughter was being stalked for weeks by a “Ukrainian agent.”

Yes, as a journalist and cheerleader for the Russian war in Ukraine, Darya was a public figure in her own right. However, Alexander is known in Russia for his pseudo-mythological ultra-nationalism. He apparently would have been in the car if plans hadn’t changed at the last minute.

A tempting target for Ukraine? Perhaps. But also for other factions.

The fantastic story now being promoted by the Kremlin after the death of Darya Dugina, daughter of controversial Russian nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, is completely predictable

Dugin had gained a significant following, but in the days since Saturday night’s bombing, many Western commentators have vastly overestimated his influence at the Kremlin and his relationship with Vladimir Putin.

He has been portrayed as a sort of ideological right-hand man to the president. Some even argue that his belief that it is Russia’s historic destiny to rule an empire stretching from Vladivostok to Dublin inspired Putin to invade Ukraine. But despite his beard and well-curated air of mystery, Dugin is far from “Putin’s Rasputin” as some claim.

He has had little contact with Putin and Russia’s illegal war of aggression in Ukraine is certainly not his brainchild. In reality, Dugin is a self-publisher, part of an ecosystem of ideological and political entrepreneurs in Russia who mimic state propaganda and try to align their doctrines with Putin’s prevailing mood.

His imperialist philosophies brought him into favor in 2014 when Moscow was looking for an ideological rationale to justify the possible annexation of the Donbas. For a short time Dugin was a regular on Russian TV.

He was offered a plum role at MGU, Russia’s most prestigious university, and his book – Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia – was required reading at the country’s top military university. Yet he was dropped just as quickly as he became famous, after the Kremlin decided against a full-scale annexation of Donbas.

Hours after Saturday’s car bomb attack, reports speculated that this was a so-called “false flag” – a political or military action carried out with the intention of blaming an adversary – to justify further aggression against Ukraine and even Estonia. .

Such clandestine provocation has certainly been a favored tactic in the past. In 1999, four apartment buildings in three Russian cities were bombed, killing more than 300 people and spreading a wave of fear across the country. It is now widely believed that these were organized by the FSB (a successor to the KGB) to generate public support for the second Chechen war.

Certainly, the official line from Moscow supports the false flag claim. It is not beyond the realm of plausibility that, in anticipation of Ukraine’s Independence Day tomorrow and the six-month anniversary of the war, Putin is preparing the way for a dramatic escalation in Ukraine.

But I advocate caution. It’s hard to see why Putin would kill Dugin to justify even more violence and bloodshed than is already perpetrated on a daily basis.

I believe that Alexander Dugin (pictured at the site of the explosion) was the target of the car bomb, despite Russia's claims that his daughter was being stalked for weeks by a 'Ukrainian agent'

I believe that Alexander Dugin (pictured at the site of the explosion) was the target of the car bomb, despite Russia’s claims that his daughter was being stalked for weeks by a ‘Ukrainian agent’

The assassination of Darya Dugin may well be the result of bitter rivalry within the ultra-nationalist community, or infighting among Russia’s fragmented and insecure elite.

Many past political assassinations – initially attributed to the Russian government – ​​have been found to be the result of dubious business dealings. (Incidentally, car bombs were the hallmark of gangland feuds in Russia in the 1990s.)

Last night, an anti-Putin group, the National Republican Army, claimed it carried out the attack. The statement was largely ignored by Russian state television.

What is clear is that blaming Ukraine could still backfire on Putin rather than bolster support. There is a growing sense that the war in Ukraine is not about to happen. Operations in the Donbas falter as troops become increasingly embroiled in a brutal war of attrition that has left as many as 60,000 Russian casualties.

MARK GALEOTTI: It is not beyond the realm of plausibility that ahead of Ukraine's Independence Day tomorrow and the six-month anniversary of the war, Putin is paving the way for a dramatic escalation in Ukraine

MARK GALEOTTI: It is not beyond the realm of plausibility that ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day tomorrow and the six-month anniversary of the war, Putin is paving the way for a dramatic escalation in Ukraine

Ukraine carries out daring attacks behind the front lines. The claim that a Ukrainian agent was able to infiltrate the country, launch an attack on a high-profile nationalist and then flee to Estonia, a neighboring NATO state, is recognition of a shocking level of incompetence.

It will hardly appease the “liberals” who fear Putin has gone too far in Ukraine, or nationalists who believe the invasion was mishandled.

Indeed, it is these nationalist factions within the Russian elite, often former army, intelligence or security forces, that I believe now pose the greatest danger to Vladimir Putin. The death of a nationalist cheerleader, whoever the perpetrator is, will only fuel that.

Professor Mark Galeotti is Honorary Professor at University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.