Earlier today, 26 year-old Darya Trepova was arrested in connection with the bomb blast that killed prominent pro-Russian war military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky.
He died in the explosion at a cafe in St Petersburg where he was given a talk. Some reports saidthe bomb was concealed in a statuette of the blogger which he had just been given as a gift.
The Kremlin has described the incident as a “terrorist act”. In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The active phase of the investigation is now under way.
“We see quite vigorous steps to detain suspects. Let’s be patient and wait for the next announcements from our special services, which are working on this.”
The killing of Tatasky’s marks the second death of a high-profile war propagandist since Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Who was Vladlen Tatarsky?
Tatarsky, 40, whose real name was Maxim Fromin, was one of the most high-profile members of a cohort of military bloggers who provided a running commentary on Russia’s war in Ukraine. The group were pro the war but could be critical of the Government, and managed to avoid direct criticism of President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Tatarsky wanted Russia to pursue the invasion even more aggressively. When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the city of Kherson after Russia retreated in November, Tatarsky questioned why Moscow had not tried to assassinate him with a drone.
Tatarsky had more than 560,000 followers on Telegram, and was one of the most influential military bloggers providing commentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A vocal supporter of the invasion, he was born in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, and had said he had joined Russian-backed separatists when they released him from jail, where he was serving time for armed robbery.
He was part of a community of pro-Kremlin military bloggers whose profile and fame have increased since the start of the war.
Who is Darya Trepova?
The 26-year old woman from St Petersburg had been placed on the Interior Ministry’s wanted list earlier this year, Russia’s state Investigative Committee said, but would provide no further information about her.
What happened in the cafe?
Tatarsky was giving a talk to an audience of around 100 people at Street Food Bar No 1 on Sunday evening. The event was organised by a group called Cyber Z Front. The letter Z has been adopted as a Russian symbol of the war.
A witness, named Alisa Smotrova, said that a woman who identified herself as Nastya asked questions and exchanged remarks with Tatarsky.
Ms Smotrova quoted Nastya as saying she had made a mini statue of the blogger but she had been asked by guards to leave it at the door, suspecting it could be a bomb.
A joke followed before she then went to the door, grabbed the bust and presented it to MrTatarsky, Ms Smotrova said. He reportedly placed the bust on a nearby table, and during his talk the explosion followed.
What could be the motive?
Tatarsky is the second prominent media figure to be assassinated in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Darya Dugina, the journalist daughter of a high-profile ultra-nationalist figure was killed by a car bomb outside Moscow last August.
Mr Tatarsky was also reportedly connected to Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group fighting for Russia in Ukraine, and the former owner of the cafe where the bomb was detonated.
The Kremlin has claimed there is evidence to suggest Ukraine planned the attack.