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There's Been An Assassination in Moscow
The Murder of Darya Dugina Is A Senseless Escalation
“Sarajevo, the word stuck in her throat when she tried to say it…”
- John Dos Passos [Manhattan Transfer, 2.V]
On the afternoon of Saturday, August 20th, in the American Pacific time zone, shocking news broke on pro-Russian Twitter pages: Darya Dugina, the 29 year-old daughter of Russian philosopher and public intellectual Aleksander Dugin was murdered by an IED attached to her car after leaving a family-oriented music festival on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia. Dugina was a journalist who was a key part of her father’s movement and working as his press secretary. It was said, and later confirmed, that Dugin himself was meant to be in the car with her but changed plans at the last minute. Aleksander Dugin is described as an “ultra-nationalist” philosopher in the West, and a huge amount- mostly fictional- has been made of his ties to Putin, with the West publishing silly things calling him “Putin’s Brain” or even more ridiculously “Putin’s Rasputin.” Though most credible sources report that he is actually a marginal figure in Russia, think tanks and the most irresponsible of the anti-Russian publications insist he is greatly influential as well as being required reading for military officers [which is entirely possible, though America’s empire managers absolutely read books about how to be an empire.] Basically, the West’s empire managers and their vassals in Ukraine have become obsessed with this individual who runs a small political group and now they may have attempted to murder him with a brazen terrorist attack in the heart of Russia- and failed. I’m trying to be circumspect about what the impact of this will be as Dugin is not as important in Russia as they claim, but clearly someone cared enough to try and murder him with a car bomb. Russia is blaming Ukraine’s intelligence services [the Occam’s Razor suspect, for sure.] The crazed Putin paranoiacs are blaming Putin. Some exiled Russian hack proudly said some previously unheard of opposition terrorist group within Russia is taking responsibility. The one thing people seem to agree on is that this senseless attack on a public intellectual could only be intended as an escalation, and one that the Russian government and Dugin’s followers will surely want to respond to. This may or may not be our Franz Ferdinand moment, but you can be sure it does not portend anything good.
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Within a few hours, Western media began reporting on the attack, though there is video of Dugin at the scene of the accident, so there weren’t that many questions about the basic facts of her death. Shortly after, Russia’s news-wire agency TASS released a statement verifying the assassination, and that Dugin was believed to be the target:
To start with, we need to briefly discuss Aleksander Dugin’s ideology before moving on. In simple terms, he is a right-wing blood-and-soil nationalist who sees it as Russia’s destiny to be the leader of that area of Eurasia, something which it was both under the Tsars and the Soviets. I can’t speak to various quotes you see from him of dubious accuracy and context, but this is the gist of things. This is anathema to the hypocritical West who want a world order based on their own phony “liberal internationalism.” That is why the West has to see him as “Putin’s Rasputin,” because they can’t imagine anyone thinking that way if not under the grip of some sort of evil mystic. As I’ve explained before, however, ethno-nationalism is actually a straightforward and easy to understand national ideology to everyone but the Western empire managers and their scribbling sycophants and the dupes who believe the sycophants. I wrote,
“One of the most frustrating things about Western attitudes towards Putin is that those with power always treat him as some sort of enigma when in fact he is a clear-cut ethno-nationalist; this is the easiest ideology to understand, though it is somehow seen as a mystery by the think-tank class. Just as Netanyahu in Israel “spoke for all Jews”, Putin sees himself as both the leader of the Russian Federation and of the Russian people generally. He believes in a world where nations and peoples openly act in self-interest [it needs to be noted that restraint is almost always in a man or state’s interest.] This means he will reliably take things like attacks on ethnic Russian breakaway regions and laws restricting the Russian language in neighboring countries seriously. But to our think tank class, everything is some vast ideological struggle, something which serves as a smoke screen for financial interests robbing the world blind.”
Since the West and the “Westernizing” Ukrainians are either truly blinded by their ideology or just pretending to be [I lean towards the latter] they can’t recognize any validity to this extremely historically common worldview [for one example, she was called “Mary, Queen of Scots,” not “Mary, Queen of Scotland,” because she the Queen of the Scottish people.] While the United States and the South American Bolivarian Republics can be said to have been founded “on an idea,” this is historically uncommon, and even following ideological revolutions countries still generally broadly remain just the state of the largest ethnic group which lives within them; even the USSR was nominally a union of states meeting this description. For some reason, a class in the West with entirely too much decision making power has chosen to believe that some deranged ideology is the only reason Russia could have security concerns or want to liberate cities they founded full of Russian speakers from an increasingly hostile nationalist regime in a country which had been at civil war for 8 years. None of this is to say Putin’s decision to resort to serious military action was justified, simply that it’s easy enough to understand his line of reasoning without thinking he’s enthralled by some spooky mystic intellectual. But, regardless, they have decided that Dugin’s influence is the only way to understand Putin’s actions, and thus someone has tried to kill Dugin:
On Monday, Russia’s Federal Security Bureau [FSB] released information about the suspected assassin. They are pointing the finger at a Ukrainian woman named Natalyva Vovk who entered the country with her 12 year old child and whom they said had been following Dugin in a Mini Cooper with changing license plates from Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic, and Kazakhstan. There are a lot of refugees from Ukraine and the breakaway republics in Russia right now, so it’s easy to see how a woman and her 12 year old daughter would not arouse extra suspicion at the border, especially as she presumably didn’t enter with contraband but instead acquired bomb making supplies in Russia. The FSB published this video of the suspect:
This video doesn’t really prove anything, though is the sort of evidence one tends to see about spies. The only thing that is truly incriminating is the switched license plate, and the allegation that she moved into Dugina’s building, though we only see a video of the woman on a doorcam, and she could be anywhere. [It needs to be noted that Dugina was frequently with her father, and presumably had less security, so following her would be an ideal way to get to him undetected.] Still, as former life-coach and current civilian-in-warzone Gonzalo Lira said:
I would amend that to say “Rightly or wrongly they’re 100% certain this is who they’re accusing.” However, this story makes sense to me, so my instinct is to believe that it’s broadly true, though the FSB also could have created that footage in well under a day: it’s simply the same woman at 2 security checkpoints, a doorcam video of her in a city, and two traffic light camera pictures of a woman in the same car with two different plates. But importantly, unless something drastic happens, Russia will not be looking for a different suspect. Thus, as far as the geopolitical impact is concerned, that is what happened.
It’s especially notable that the woman is said to have escaped to Estonia, which if real could be a further deliberate provocation from Ukraine, or if false, an excuse to be provoked for Russia. This all comes on the heels of Estonia’s hawkish PM Kaja Kallas admitting NATO cannot defend the Baltic states and her prior government falling apart to be replaced by an anti-Russia coalition, whereas an ethnic Russian party formerly officially aligned with Putin’s United Russia had previously shared power. Estonia is following Ukraine’s unwise path of making living in a unified country with a large ethnic Russian minority untenable, and it seems that for the foreseeable future Estonia’s governments will primarily be designed around preventing Estonia’s Russian minority- 25% of the country- from holding political power. If on top of this, Estonia shelters a person Russia is accusing of committing an act of terrorism against a Russian civilian on Russia’s soil, it’s easy to imagine Russia’s security services or their assets within Estonia’s Russian-speaking community [which they must have, I don’t mean to blanket accuse Russian Estonians of disloyalty to Estonia] choosing to murder Vovk on Estonian soil. The best hope for us all is that she quickly made her way back to Ukraine before she was publicly identified by Russia, or else entirely disappeared [she’s completely burned as a spy, and could have done this for new passports and money to move somewhere warm and sunny.] Incredibly, there is this seemingly authentic listing of the car for sale in Ukraine by someone with her daughter’s surname, which doesn’t make sense as real or dis-information.
It’s possible she was just that sure she got away with it, but I would assume this is some sort of ruse. Machiavelli says that is what you should assume in this sort of situation, writing,
“A commander of armies must not trust an error that is committed by the enemy in an obvious way; there will always be some form of deceit behind it, since it is not reasonable for men to be so incautious.”
- [Discourses, III.48.]
This is too far out there to be incompetence, and feels too ridiculous to be the Russians falsifying evidence. My instinct is that Ukrainian intelligence did this as the setup for a trick which is currently clear only to them. However, it is the most incomprehensible aspect of this entire episode, so I say that with low certainty, but I would rule out sheer incompetence as the cause of that car listing existing, assuming it does at all.
It is now time to discuss reactions, beginning with my own take on whether such actions are ever justified. There is a degree of temptation to take a Masters of War sort of justification for this idea insofar as Dugin hides behind walls and hides behind desks while dreaming up wars for other people to fight. One can imagine a person thinking it’s fair that he himself experiences war. His daughter was his partisan and promoted the same views so the same could be said of her were she the target- it does appear the attacker expected to get both of them. The problem with this is that he has no official government position. If he was actually a top Kremlin advisor there would be a plausible justification for him experiencing terrorism as resistance to aggression and occupation, but he is not part of the Russian government. Thus, the question is, “Is it ever appropriate to kill someone with a car bomb for his speech,” to which I would give a definitive “no.”
Some of the more measured people are comparing this to the recent stabbing of Salman Rushdie, which I think is fair, as the Shah considered Rushdie a threat to their nation and culture. That is the thing about freedom of expression, is that other people hate and fear different things than you do, so even someone who hates Dugin and loves Rushdie should be able to see the relevance. But the newspapers sure covered it differently:
Both Dugin and Putin released statements more or less along the lines you would expect:
Putin publicly offered Dugin condolences, and then released this brief statement:
“A despicable, cruel crime ended the life of Darya Dugina - a bright, talented person with a real Russian heart - kind, loving, sympathetic and open. A journalist, scientist, philosopher, war correspondent, she honestly served the people, the Fatherland, she proved by deed what it means to be a patriot of Russia.”
Putin also posthumously awarded her an “Order of Courage,” which is presumably just a general civic honor.
Amusingly, The Telegraph claims “Kremlin-linked officials vowed to strike Ukraine,” but posted a circular link as their only citation and thus provided literally no evidence any Russian officials said such a thing, just a link to a page that links back to the original article as the source of the information. Of course, Russia bombs Ukraine daily, so that kind of retaliation wouldn’t necessarily mean anything. Meanwhile, Ukraine seemingly blamed Russia, though avoided a why, as there is no explanation for the Kremlin wanting Dugin dead that doesn’t sound zany [some are claiming Dugin was targeted because he had been criticizing the Kremlin for not prosecuting the war fiercely enough…but that being so they would want him alive later in case they chose to escalate and needed his intellectual backing.] Ukraine’s President Zelensky’s advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said the following:
“Ukraine certainly had nothing to do with yesterday's explosion. We are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation, much less a terrorist one.”
Suffice to say, at this point everyone came into this article with an existing view on whether or not Ukraine would do such a thing, so you can take from that whatever you’re prone to. My personal suspicion is that Ukraine both would and did do this exact thing. I should say Russia definitely would kill someone with a car bomb if there was reason to do so, but there is absolutely no credible reason to believe the Kremlin wanted Dugin dead, and we’re meant to believe when Russia assassinates they use weird Soviet-era chemicals that rarely kill people.
Then there was the response of that crazed exile where he openly advocated for terrorism within Russia:
That guy is clearly completely unreliable. If Ukraine and the US mean to somehow make use of this clown, they should listen to Machiavelli’s advice about not believing exiles, he writes,
“One must consider, therefore, how vain are both the word and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their homeland…As for their vain promises and hopes, their desire to return home is so intense that they naturally believe many things which are false, and to them they add many things with guile.” - [Discourses, II.31]
If this guy is actually in contact with anyone and didn’t just make up this “National Republican Army”, it is most likely a GRU [Russian military intelligence] agent feeding him disinformation he is dumb and desperate enough to believe.
Now, for the part you’ve all been waiting for: random Twitter lunatics. One take, is that Dugin set up his own daughter’s murder, because these people are that deranged. I’m posting these ones as screencaps, because the worst content on Twitter has a way of disappearing.
Someone is way too into Game of Thrones. This lunatic has over 300k Twitter followers. His feed his pretty deranged so I doubt he deletes this. Various stuff purporting that Dugin’s mysticism related to daughter sacrifice. I can’t read Russian, and I don’t doubt Dugin has written some weird shit, but I seriously doubt the guy organized his daughter’s assassination and then showed up to playact grief after writing books about the value of such things. When someone says things like this you can be sure he has no grasp on human affairs.
At least one other person supports him:
It’s always crazy to me how these are the same people who would deny a “Deep State” exists in the United States then will believe the most outlandish things about official enemies. That is not serious political discourse. But it’s not just them. This guy, who is allegedly a credible Russia researcher and is followed by Rachel Maddow, is on team false flag, because as we all know Putin habitually kills supporters who pose absolutely no threat to him for no good reason:
Of course, no explanation of what good for Putin there is in this. Their habit is basically just to assume Putin is so thin-skinned he kills people over mild criticism but he’s simultaneously had the self-control to deal with the West talking shit about him constantly for 20 years. And Ukraine would waste the resources of one spy and one IED on this target because they are desperate and obsessed with Dugin, and want to make Russia lash out in a way that leads to further outside intervention.
And now, a collection of random internet hate:
These people think they are the good guys operating from a humanitarian position. I understand that war breeds hatred, but they’ve very much lost the plot in their head. To be honest, I think the severe amount of dehumanization from the phony covid “pandemic” has lead more people to think this sort of thing is appropriate. And of course few of these people are from Ukraine, they are random Westerners behind smart phones who have found life-meaning in hating other humans while simultaneously not being smart enough to understand that geopolitics are complicated. I recently saw some genius soul on Twitter say, “The Two Minutes of Hate are now a DIY thing,” referencing the famous practice in Orwell’s 1984, and it is indeed true. One should have a level of perspective to not cheer when a civilian is killed in a terrorist attack. That puts you one step away from being willing to support Al-Qaeda, it’s just a matter of what you hate. They are clearly more motivated by sheer ethnic hatred than any Russians you see and these are people thousands of miles away from the war who look at it as a comic book struggle between good and evil. It’s both pathetic and disgusting.
And thus is the story of Darya Dugina’s death on August 20th, 2022 and the reaction so far to this talented young woman’s murder. My main takeaway from this is that Ukraine is desperate, and along with sabotage on the Russian bases, their war is moving to one of insurgency: a huge fall for what was once Europe’s second largest land army. This is especially a challenge in this conflict as Russians and Ukrainians are basically indistinguishable from each other besides for the accent [it’s an iron rule of human affairs that people have the most hatred to those who are the most indistinguishable from themselves to outsiders.] It will always be possible to turn family members on different sides or find someone with the right accent and appearance to not draw attention to themselves and launch some sort of attack. Russia’s main advantage is that thus far it doesn’t appear to be trying to capture non-ethnic Russian areas, and thus won’t be trying to hold large, hostile populations. However, it seems likely that as Ukraine’s ability to conventionally resist is weakened, Russia will be facing a years’ long campaign of insurgency and terrorism.
Alternately, despite Zelensky’s early repeated claims that Russia was trying to assassinate him while being filmed with phones on the street for idiot Western audiences who don’t know about signature strikes, Russia has neither been targeting political leaders nor engaging in sabotage. That could change. There are also a lot of Russian speaking citizens in Ukraine, and Ukraine is vulnerable to the same kinds of attacks. If Russia were to decide to wage a secret campaign of assassination and terrorism it would be pretty easy to find operatives who could move easily through Ukraine.
And all of this is assuming Russia has the restraint to not lash out in a blind rage and provoke a full Western intervention, which is presumably what the Ukrainians hoped for, as clearly their leadership class and internet supporters have determined that the death of all humanity in nuclear war is a small price to pay to avoid Ukraine being ruled by the Russians who would basically govern them in the same way they’re governed now but relatively more competently and with more protections for workers. It’s madness, but it inherently takes a deranged mind to kill an academic with a car bomb, and that’s where we are.
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