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The daughter of 'Putin's brain' ideologist was killed in a car explosion

In this handout photo taken from video released by Investigative Committee of Russia on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, investigators work on the site of explosion of a car driven by Daria Dugina outside Moscow.
AP
In this handout photo taken from video released by Investigative Committee of Russia on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, investigators work on the site of explosion of a car driven by Daria Dugina outside Moscow.

Updated August 21, 2022 at 2:59 PM ET

MOSCOW — An explosion in the outskirts of Moscow has killed the daughter of a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Daria Dugina, 29, was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser Sunday when the vehicle exploded. Authorities in Russia have launched a criminal investigation.

She was the daughter of Alexander Dugin, who is often called "Putin's brain." Dugin is a prominent Russian nationalist intellectual whose vision of a revived Russian empire came to influence Putin's war in neighboring Ukraine.

For over a decade, both father and daughter have advocated for Russia's invasion. They have said many times that Russia can only thrive if Ukraine is destroyed.

Dugin was placed on Western sanctions lists as a key proponent of the Kremlin's forced annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. He also backed Russia's decisions to send troops into Ukraine earlier this year.

The United States imposed sanctions on his daughter in March after she served as chief editor for United World International, which the Treasury Department classified as a disinformation site. The United Kingdom also placed sanctions against Dugina in July.

Several Dugin allies immediately suggested he was the target of the blast and blamed the Ukrainian government, which denied any role in the incident.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Dugina's death is the result of Russia's domestic instability and not any military action from his country.

He added that it's a consequence for her support of the war.

"Every person is supposed to pay for their words," Podolyak said in Ukrainian.

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Julian Hayda
Shauneen Miranda
Shauneen Miranda is a summer 2022 Digital News intern.