Russian Authorities Arrest Young Woman for Murder of Nationalist Blogger and Accuse Ukrainian Intelligence Services

Russian authorities have arrested a 26-year-old Russian woman after yesterday’s bomb attack at a café in St Petersburg. Nationalist blogger Vladlen Tatarski was killed. She is suspected of bringing the bomb to the café, hidden in a statue.

According to the Russian Anti-Terrorism Committee, she acted on behalf of the Ukrainian intelligence services and with the help of associates of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Daria Trepova, 26, was arrested in an apartment in St. Petersburg after being alerted by the Russian Interior Ministry this morning. The woman is suspected of presenting a plaster statue to nationalist blogger Vladlen Tatarski, a staunch supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The statue may have contained the explosive that cost him his life.

According to her friends and acquaintances, the young woman has no radical ideas but is strongly opposed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is also a feminist. She was once arrested after an anti-war demonstration in Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. For her presence there, she was imprisoned for ten days.

The Russian Ministry of the Interior has already (against all legal rules) distributed a video of an interrogation of Trepova. In it, she would confirm that she brought the statuette that later exploded. However, when asked who gave her the statue, she says she does not want to answer.

The Russian Counterterrorism Committee is convinced that the Ukrainian security services staged the attack. And the name of the well-known opposition politician Aleksej Navalny is also mentioned. “People who cooperated with the so-called Navalny Anti-Corruption Fund” are said to have helped the Ukrainian security services.

Alexey Navalny himself has been in prison in Russia for two years. His Anti-Corruption Fund has been labelled an “extremist organization” and dismantled. Ivan Zhdanov, an employee of Navalny, calls it “a pretty crazy situation” from abroad. “To deny that we did this is idiotic. But, of course, we don’t do such things. And if we don’t deny it, what if someone thinks it really was us?”

According to Zhdanov, it is clear that this was an operation by the Russian secret services, which “simply eliminated this propagandist themselves.” An adviser to Ukrainian President Zelensky also suggests that. He wrote on Twitter this morning that in Russia, “the spiders are eating each other” and talks about internal political battles.

Vladlen Tatarski – his real name was Maksim Fomin – was an extremely nationalistic pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian blogger. He was also close to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of the Wagner mercenary army fighting in Ukraine and engaged in a power struggle with the Russian Defense Ministry.

According to some observers, including those from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the bombing may be part of that power struggle. The bar where the attack took place used to belong to Prigozhin. The attack could serve as a warning to Prigozhin, who has become increasingly critical of the Kremlin.

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