St. Petersburg cafe bombing spreads fear of new attacks inside Russia | International

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All of Vladimir Putin's power has been built around a myth that has permeated Russian society in the last two decades: the president put an end to the violence that ravaged the country in the 1990s. The attack perpetrated on Sunday in a Saint Petersburg cafe, as well as the car-bomb that ended the life of the daughter of one of the leading intellectuals of Russian ultra-nationalism last August, have awakened memories of those nightmare years in the population, especially among the elite.

The war is being fought on Ukrainian soil, but there is a feeling that no one is out of danger anymore. Neither did the Russian opposition, which the Kremlin has linked to Sunday's terrorist act without any indication other than sympathy for the views of opposition leader Alexei Navalni of the main suspect in the attack.

A bomb killed the militant and pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarski on Sunday afternoon in a busy cafeteria in Saint Petersburg, where the fatal victim was attending a colloquium. Another thirty people were injured. Hours later, several people approached the police cordon to say goodbye to the activist, whose channel with more than half a million followers encouraged the continuation of the war. Putin has decorated him this Monday with the Postmortem Order of Courage.

One of them, a young woman who wanted to remain anonymous, reminded EL PAÍS of a phrase that she has repeated to her friends all these months: “On February 24 you thought that Saint Petersburg was very far (from the front) and it would not affect us (the invasion), but I told you: it will affect us all in one way or another.

For this woman, the red line was the murder on the outskirts of Moscow of Daria Dugina, daughter of Alexander Dugin, head philosopher of the Kremlin's most ultra-patriotic circle and, to a certain extent, influential in the conception that Russia should wage war. with the western world. "And Carthage must be destroyed", is the motto that Dugin copies from Cato The old in your portal geopolitics, where Moscow is the Third Rome and the West, its Carthage.

The planting of a bomb in Dugina's car in the heart of Russia, on the outskirts of Moscow, and the subsequent successful escape of the suspects caused uneasiness for the first time in the Russian elite, who until then believed themselves safe from their enemies. .

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“We have seen that the Ukrainian special services and their supervisors can carry out operations (in Russia). This is demonstrated by the terrorist attacks in which Daria Dugina and Maxim Fomin (Tatarski's real name) were killed”, underlined this Monday another very popular war correspondent in Russia, Alexander Kots, in the program of one of the heads of Russian propaganda, Vladimir Soloviov. “Ukraine acts aggressively and professionally on the territory of the Russian Federation,” he stressed before stressing that the threat comes not only from Ukrainian spoilers, but also from critics inside Russia.

This last point was also emphasized on Monday by the head of the Wagner mercenary company, Yevgueni Prigozhin, who also posed in military dress with a Russian tricolor flag where "eternal memory of Vladlén Tatarski" was written. The businessman responded through a statement to the rain of questions about the attacked cafe, since Prigozhin is also the owner of the place where the ultranationalist talks were held.

“Yes, everything is similar to the death of Daria Dugina, but I would not blame the kyiv regime for these actions. I think there is a group of radicals that does not have much to do with their government," said the owner of Wagner.

Ironically, the Shot channel not only published for the first time this Monday several images of the arrest of the alleged perpetrator of the crime, but also assured, according to its sources, that a former member of the National Bolshevik Party could have been involved in the attack, founded by Dugin himself in the nineties together with the writer Eduard Limónov and later banned by the Kremlin for its radicalism.

This outlet claimed that Roman Popkov, former head of the party in Moscow and later an exiled journalist in Kiev, would have delivered the statuette loaded with explosives to the suspect, deceiving her that it was only a listening system. "It's a lie," the defendant replied to the newspaper The Insider. Popkov acknowledges that the two have known each other since she began writing to him on social networks at the start of the war for her work, but she would never "do such an operation." "Do you think I would do this, with my family in Russia?" She warned after stating that there are "enough groups (within Russia) that would carry out attacks like this."

The Kremlin looks for the enemy in Russia

Trépova (Saint Petersburg, 1997), was arrested this Monday in a friend's apartment in Saint Petersburg. Her participation in the protests against the war in Ukraine in February of last year gave wings to the Russian ruling party to link the attack on the political opposition.

The National Anti-Terrorist Committee affirmed that the attack was perpetrated "by the special services of Ukraine with the participation of people who collaborate with the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK)", the organization of the Russian dissident Alexéi Navalni, declared extremist by the authorities. The Russian Investigative Committee hammered home the same message, noting that Trepova "holds opposition views and is a supporter of the FBK."

The opposition platform denied this accusation. "An organization involved in political assassinations in Russia is not the FBK, but the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service)," Navalni's chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, wrote on his Twitter account. “Questions remain to be answered: in the center of St. Petersburg, in the 24th year of the stability (Putin's), in broad daylight, boldly kill a key propagandist. This is one way or another the responsibility of the supposedly omnipotent special services, ”added Volkov, who considered the accusation against his platform a way to evade obligations on the part of the security forces.

Political scientist Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the R.Politik analysis center, stressed in her observations of the attack that the accusation leveled against Navalni only seeks to criminalize all voices that oppose the invasion of Ukraine. “Now all those who participate in anti-war actions will automatically become potential terrorists in the eyes of not only the security forces, but also the public. patriotic. This, of course, will aggravate the social division”, affirms Stanovaya before emphasizing that what happened “demonstrates how vulnerable the active defenders of the war are today”.

This opinion is shared by the Russian elite. “This terrorist attack is one more reason for us to think about our own security hundreds of kilometers from the front. The war reaches anyone anywhere ”, warned deputy Andrei Guruliov, general and member of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, on Telegram.

Another well-known pro-war correspondent, Alexander Sladkov, criticized the fact that it is the police who are carrying out the investigation, instead of the espionage services. “I don't think the quality of police professionals is inferior to that of the Cheka (the Soviet repressive body), but it is a very important case of terrorism. Why isn't the FSB in the center?” the blogger wondered. "We are losing ideological fighters," Sladkov added in a post where he compared this underground struggle with kyiv to a chess game "where White (Russia) is running out of pawns and bishops."

Some members of the Kremlin circle were also clamoring for revenge. “This time there will be no sympathetic juries or juries of any kind. And thank God," said the head of the Russia Today channel, Margarita Simonián, establishing a parallel between this attack and the one suffered by the repressive General Trépov in 1878, whose author was released and inspired some passages from The Karamazov brothersby Fyodor Dostoevsky. “The idiot writes about feminism and posts half-naked photos of her in half-pornographic poses. The feminism we deserve. The idiots we raise, ”Simonián added, in an attack against another of the Kremlin's demons, feminism outside of conservatism, with several photos of the detainee in which she appeared dressed.

The Kremlin reinforced with the assassination of Tatarski its call to support the war against Ukraine. “Russia confronts the kyiv regime. He supports terrorism; he is behind Dugina's murder and may be behind Fomin's murder. He has been behind the murder of people for years," Putin's spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Monday.

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