Daria Dugina’s assassination could cause problems for Putin’s allies in Russia: NPR


Alexander Dugin attends a farewell ceremony for his daughter Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion in Moscow on August 23.

Dmitry Serebriakov/AP


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Dmitry Serebriakov/AP


Alexander Dugin attends a farewell ceremony for his daughter Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion in Moscow on August 23.

Dmitry Serebriakov/AP

Earlier this week in Russia there was a televised funeral for Daria Dugina, just days after she was killed in a car bomb attack in Moscow.

Dugina was a Russian propagandist who supported her country’s invasion of Ukraine, both on television and online. His death made world headlines, both for his violence and because of the political prominence of his father, Alexander Dugin.

It also signaled that Moscow’s elite may not be safe in their own city, said Marlene Laruelle, director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University.

“The war is gradually coming to them on Russian territory,” she said.

“The message that the murder sends, although we cannot interpret exactly who did this and who the real target was, is that if you can have a terrorist act in Moscow, in the middle of the war, that means that the elites suddenly don’t feel more secure.”

Laruelle joined All things Considered to discuss the rise and waning influence of Alexander Dugin, how he spread his ideology across the world, and what the death of Daria Dugina may mean politically.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Interview Highlights

On the origins of Alexander Dugin

He was quite famous in the 90s because he was one of the first in Russia to formulate a kind of political language of the great power and the Russian empire. But in the 2000s it really lost some of its notoriety, and there are a lot of other ideologies that have come up that are much more influential on the type of strategy the regime has. He was quite marginalized in Russia. He is more famous abroad than in Russia itself.


Alexander Dugin rose to prominence in the 1990s.

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Alexander Dugin rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Francesca Ebel/AP

On his beliefs about Ukraine

He had a very anti-Ukrainian ideology from the beginning, which is one of his most famous works of the mid-90s. He was saying that Ukraine does not exist as a state, as a nation , that it is a construction of the West as a kind of anti-Russian strategy.

And that’s something that wasn’t so common back then. But after that, he really worked on many other countries, creating a great geopolitical vision for Russia as an empire, and he was always very anti-Ukrainian, to the point that Ukraine once banned him from entering Ukrainian territory for about 15 years. In the mid-2000s, he was already persona non grata in Ukraine.

On the question of whether there is any knowledge of Dugin’s influence on Vladmir Putin

No, we’re not even sure they met. Putin never cited Dugin, Dugin is not part of any official institution, like several other ideologies. He’s only on the little internet channel, the far-right Orthodox channel. He is therefore not one of the classic propagandists who are actually invited to talk shows.

His daughter was, and that’s the interesting thing. Her daughter was more traditional in a way, and she got to be on all those provocative talk shows. He was quite marginal, because his thought is not easy to follow. It’s super philosophical and religious, so it’s not something you can get on TV very easily and attract a large audience for.


Investigators work at the site of the explosion of a car driven by Daria Dugina outside Moscow.

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Investigators work at the site of the explosion of a car driven by Daria Dugina outside Moscow.

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On Dugin’s popularity among far-right international communities

He really is a big name in contemporary far-right thinking. Firstly because he speaks a lot of foreign languages, so he was able to read all the far-right European productions, translate in Russia, and also translate his own work into English, French, German, Italian, Arabic, and Iranian .

So he really knew how to develop networks of international, transnational, far-right people, even in Latin America. He knew how to articulate a narrative of this new empire of conservative values ​​against the so-called decadent West and liberal culture, etc. It really is a narrative that has resonated with a lot of European interests among far-right groups.

On what Daria Dugin’s death may mean politically

I think her death will be used by conservative reactionary groups to make her a kind of martyrdom. She was a beautiful young woman, which will contribute to creating the myth of her martyrdom. I think his death will be used globally, not only by conservative circles but also by the regime, for a kind of domestic repression. The regime will have to show that it can respond to an act of terrorism, which will likely mean harsher repression.

This story was adapted for the web by Manuela Lopez Restrepo.

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