Anti-Putin 'National Republican Army' Mocks Russia's Dugina Claims

Russia's so-called National Republican Army (NRA), which describes itself as an anti-Putin resistance group, has mocked Russian security services claims that a Ukrainian woman was behind the assassination of Darya Dugina.

Shortly after Dugina was killed in a car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow, former Russian State Deputy Ilya Ponomarev claimed that the assassination was organized by the NRA.

Ponomarev also alleged that she and her father, Alexander Dugin, an influential ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, were both targets of the attack. Ponomarev's claims could not be verified by Newsweek.

On Monday, after a brief investigation, Russia's FSB security services accused Ukraine's secret services and a female Ukrainian citizen of plotting Dugina's killing. It accused the woman, supposedly born in 1979, of being involved in Dugina's killing, and added that she fled to Estonia on Sunday.

Ukraine has denied any involvement in Dugina's death.

The coffin of Russian Daria Dugina
The coffin of Russian Daria Dugina, who was killed in a car bomb explosion the previous week, is seen during a farewell ceremony at the Ostankino TV center in Moscow on August 23, 2022. Daria Dugina followed in her father's footsteps, becoming a well-known media personality who worked for pro-Kremlin television channels including Russia Today and Tsargrad. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

The NRA, in a statement on the Telegram channel Rospartizan, dismissed the FSB's findings, claiming that Russian authorities are "so afraid of the partisans that they are ready for any fables in order to maintain the appearance of total control."

"So, according to the FSB, the Ukrainian woman is to blame for everything," the group wrote, highlighting the security service's numerous findings, including that the Ukrainian citizen arrived in Russia in July with her daughter, rented an apartment in the same building as Dugina, spied on Dugina, and left the country using Ukrainian license plates.

"All this became known a day after the murder—this is the speed of the investigation!" the NRA wrote.

The NRA suggested that the Ukrainian woman who the FSB said entered Russia with her daughter and left for Estonia is most likely a refugee from the occupied Mariupol region. The hard-hit Ukrainian port city was seized by Putin's troops in the early stages of the war, which began on February 24.

"There are thousands of such women fleeing the occupied city to Europe through Russia. Playing this story is very convenient for Putin's special services—they found the 'guilty' and have nothing to show," the NRA continued.

Ponomarev said the NRA authorized him to issue their "manifesto" via his Rospartizan Telegram channel.

The group describes itself as consisting of Russian activists, military members, politicians who are "now fighters and partisans," and said it opposes the war launched by Russia against neighboring Ukraine.

Estonia has also hit out at attempts by Russia to blame Dugina's death on a Ukrainian woman who supposedly fled to the Baltic country.

"We regard this as one instance of provocation in a very long line of provocations by the Russian Federation, and we have nothing more to say about it at the moment," Urmas Reinsalu, Estonia's foreign minister, told local TV station Eesti Rahvusringhääling.

Last week, Estonia moved a Soviet-era tank memorial from near to its border with Russia, and was subsequently hit with the nation's biggest cyber attack in 15 years.

Reinsalu suggested Russia was pressuring the country for supporting Ukraine amid the ongoing war.

"Why did Estonia experience the biggest cyber attacks since the Bronze Soldier night? Why did the former president of Russia say two weeks ago that it was their failure that Estonia is still a free country?" he asked.

Newsweek has contacted Russia's foreign ministry for comment.