Bomb kills Russian pro-war blogger in St. Petersburg café

Vladlen Tatarsky was killed by a blast on Sunday. This is the second assassination on Russian soil of a pro-war figure.

Bomb kills Russian pro-war blogger in St. Petersburg café

The Key Points

Yevgeny Prizhin, the Wagner Group mercenary boss, claimed that the cafe had once belonged to him but that he had given it away to "patriotic activists" who held meetings there.

Vladlen Tatarsky, a well-known Russian military blogger, was killed in a bomb blast at a St Petersburg cafe Sunday. This attack appeared to have been the second on Russian soil against a figure closely linked with the war in Ukraine.

Russia's state Investigative Committee stated that it has opened a murder investigation. According to St Petersburg's governor, 25 people had been injured and 19 were currently being treated at hospital.

The motive behind the murder was not immediately clear. Yevgeny Prizhin, head of Russia's Wagner mercenary organization, stated on Sunday that he wouldn't blame the Kyiv government for the killing.

We will defeat all, we'll kill everybody, and we'll rob every person we need to.

Another leading Russian official pointed fingers at Ukraine without providing any evidence. According to a Ukrainian presidential advisor, "domestic terrorist" was raging in Russia.

Russia's Foreign Ministry denied any involvement in the attack but stated that silence in Western capitals was hypocrisy in light of expressions of concern about journalists.

Maxim Fomin was Tatarsky's real name. He had over 560,000 Telegram followers and was one the most prominent military bloggers. Tatarsky was a champion of Russia's war effort against Ukraine, while frequently criticizing the army top brass.

"We'll defeat everybody, we will kill everyone, and we'll rob every person we need to. He said it in a video last Sept at a Kremlin ceremony where President Vladimir Putin claimed four regions of Ukraine that were partially under Russian control as Russian territory. This move was rejected by many countries.

TASS news agency quotes an unnamed source saying that the bomb was in a miniature statue and was given to Tatarsky by a cafe patron as he spoke to a group of people.

Mash, a Telegram channel that links to Russian law enforcement posted a video in which Tatarsky was seen holding a microphone and being presented with a statuette depicting a helmeted soldier. The video claimed that the explosion occurred minutes later.

Prigozhin stated that the cafe used to be his, but he gave it to "patriotic activists" who had been holding meetings there.

Reuters could not confirm this independently.

Denis Pushilin (the Moscow-installed leader in the Donetsk region of Ukraine) suggested publicly that Ukraine was to blame.

"He was murdered vilely. Terrorists can't do anything else. The Kyiv regime can be considered a terrorist regime. He stated that it must be destroyed.

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russia's Foreign Ministry, said that Washington, London, and Paris have not responded to the Russian Foreign Ministry's concern for journalists and freedom of expression.

She wrote that "the reaction in Kyiv was striking where those who have received Western grants are not in any way concealing their joy at what has occurred," on the ministry's site.

'Ripe abscess'

Mykhailo Podolyak was a Ukrainian presidential advisor who wrote on Twitter that it was only a matter time -- "like bursting a ripe abdominal" -- before Russia would be consumed in what he called domestic terrorism.

He said, "The spiders are eating one another in a container."

Tatarsky's murder occurred after Darya Dugina was killed in an attack on a Moscow car-bomb last August.

Russia's Federal Security Service accuses Ukraine's Secret Services of Executing That Attack, Putin calling "evil". Ukraine denied any involvement.

Sunday's killings were likely to be the work of "a group hardly related the government," Prigozhin stated, but not of Ukraine.

Russia's war bloggers are a group of freelance commentators and military correspondents who have published hard-hitting views about the war. They now stand at the 14th month. Putin made one of them a member last year of his human rights council.

They were shocked to hear about Tatarsky's passing.

He was always alive, even though he was at the most dangerous parts of the special military operations. Semyon Pegov, who blogs as War Gonzo, said that the war found him at a Petersburg cafe.