Days after a car bomb detonated and killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, on her drive home from a Russian culture festival outside of Moscow, there are more questions than answers regarding the circumstances of her death.
First, a word about Alexander Dugin (who might have been the real target of the assassination, as the two were reportedly supposed to have driven back home from the “Tradition” festival together). He is a Russian ideologue known in the West for his commentaries on Russian ideology and strategy. He is not, however, “Putin’s brain” or a “close adviser to Putin,” as many Western journalists have written. He is a pseudo-intellectual hack who speaks good English, good enough to use big words in a manner that a certain kind of graduate student might plausibly find coherent. The centerpiece of his rhetoric over the last few decades has been “Eurasianism” or “neo-Eurasianism”, which calls for building a Eurasian empire to challenge the supremacy of the United States and the “Atlanticists.”
There is a lot more guff and interlocking strands of polysyllabic time-wasting sentences to it than that summary, and Dugin connoisseurs will be shocked at my dismissal. The fact remains that if you read the speeches of Putin, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin ally and Security Council Secretary Nikoloai Patrushev, etc., and study Russian newscasts and official documents, one is hard-pressed to find much of a Dugin signature outside of some caterwauling on Russian pseudo-news-debate shows. I confess, I used to take Dugin much more seriously. I used to read his books and articles closely, looking for some kind of clue about the direction of Putin’s regime or the next steps of the Kremlin. I gradually realized that Dugin was a follower, not a leader in any sense of the word. His role is not to blaze a trail but to justify whatever Putin is already doing to a particular set of audiences, through phrases designed to appeal to right wingers and anti-American esotericists and mystics (there is a lot of overlap among these groups).
So why kill his daughter then? Again, it is possible that she was not the target. On the other hand, she was a minor figure in the Russian commentariat, appearing on nationalist TV stations and writing opinion pieces in the fashion of her father. She visited Donetsk and Mariupol this summer and gloated about how the “globalists had lost” to limited online audiences, but that hardly would make her a likely target.