Investigators opened a criminal case into the murder of Darya Dugina, saying that at around 9.00 p.m. local time on Saturday, near the village of “Bolshiye Vyazemy, an explosive device, presumably installed in the Toyota Land Cruiser, went off on a public road and the car caught fire,” the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee said, according to TASS.
“The female driver died at the scene. We established the identity of the deceased: it is journalist and political analyst Daria Dugina,” it added in a post on Telegram, using an alternative spelling of her first name.
Andrei Krasnov, head of the Russky Gorizont (Russian Horizon) social movement and a personal acquaintance of the woman’s family, told TASS on Sunday that Dugina was killed when her car caught fire following an explosion.
Krasnov said he knew Dugina personally and that the car she was traveling in belonged to her father. He believed Alexander was the true target of the blast, or possibly both of them, Tass reported.
“It’s her father’s car,” Krasnov told TASS. “Dasha (Darya) drives another car, but she drove his car today, and Alexander went separately.”
‘Flames completely engulfed it’
When Dugina “turned onto the Mozhaiskoye highway near the village of Bolshiye Vyazemi, there was an explosion, the car caught fire immediately,” Krasnov told TASS.
“The flames completely engulfed it. She lost control because she was driving at high speed and flew to the opposite side of the road,” Krasnov added, as cited by TASS.
Images from the aftermath of the explosion began circulating on Russian social media Saturday, appearing to show a vehicle on fire at the side of the road and smashed car parts strewn across the surrounding area. CNN is unable to independently verify the images.
In the meantime, forensic experts, investigators and experts in explosive engineering are inspecting the scene.
“Based on the results of the inspection, a number of examinations will be appointed, including forensic, explosive engineering and molecular-genetic. All possible versions of the crime are being probed,” the press service said, according to TASS.
Dugina, the daughter, was born in 1992 and studied Philosophy at Moscow State University, according to TASS.
In March 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Dugina for her contribution to an article on the United World International (UWI) website suggesting that Ukraine would “perish” if it is admitted to NATO. Dugina was UWI’s chief editor.
She claimed in a recent interview with the Russian news channel, 1RNK, that the atrocities that happened during the Russian occupation of the Ukrainian town of Bucha were American propaganda, chosen because of its phonological similarity to “butcher,” a word she connects with US President Joe Biden calling Putin a “butcher” on March 29.
Her father was also sanctioned by the United States in in 2015 for being responsible for, or complicit in actions or policies that threaten peace, security, stability, or sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine.
In an interview with CNN in 2017, Dugin remarked on many similarities between his ideas and those of former US president Donald Trump. He called Trump’s inauguration speech discourse “as if I would write it myself.”
He also said that Putin provided inspiration for Trump, “a kind of… example to challenge the status quo, to challenge the conventional wisdom, challenge all this totalitarian principles of globalists and ultra-liberals.”
CNN’s Alex Stambaugh contributed to this report.