Zakhar Prilepin: the defiant pro-war Russian writer after the car bombing

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Zakhar Prilepin is one of Russia’s most famous authors and a seasoned proponent of ultranationalist politics

A pro-war Russian writer who was seriously injured in a car bomb attack said he would not be intimidated by the apparent assassination attempt.

Zakhar Prilepin, a staunch supporter of the Russian campaign in Ukraine, said he survived because he drove.

The bomb was under the passenger seat and killed his friend Alexander Shubin, he wrote in a Telegram post.

Investigators say a suspect, Alexander Permyakov, admitted to working for Ukraine.

Initial reports suggested Prilepin was in the passenger seat and his driver had been killed, but Prilepin said he was driving himself.

The blast broke both of his legs, he said – and added he had dropped off his daughter “five minutes before”.

“You will not intimidate anyone,” he warned those responsible for the attack. “Thank you to everyone who prayed, because it should have been impossible to survive such an explosion,” he added.

The award-winning author and veteran of Moscow’s bloody wars in Chechnya is one of Russia’s most celebrated writers, and prior to 2014 was a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

But in recent years, Prilepin – long known for his involvement in Russian ultranationalist politics – has apparently reconciled with Mr Putin and become a strong supporter of invading Ukraine.

The 47-year-old admitted to fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and called for “returning Kiev to Russia”.

Last year, a group founded by Prilepin called on officials to “purge the cultural space” of anyone who opposes the conflict.

The Russian Commission of Inquiry (SK), which deals with serious crimes, including terrorism, accuses Alexander Permyakov of detonating a remote-controlled bomb, destroying Prilepin’s Audi.


The bomb was reportedly planted on the road and detonated remotely

The SK says he was taken from a nearby village. The region lies more than 425 km (265 miles) east of Moscow.

He “admitted to having carried out a mission for the Ukrainian secret services”, alleges the SK.

The Atesh partisan group, made up of Ukrainians and Crimean Tartars, claimed it was behind the Prilepin attack.

“We had a feeling that sooner or later it would be blown up,” they wrote on Telegram. “He was not driving alone, but with a surprise under the car.”

The BBC cannot verify Atesh’s claims.

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) released its standard response, declining to comment on the attack or an allegation by the Russian Foreign Ministry that Ukraine – backed by the US government – targeted Prilepin.

The attack is the latest to target prominent supporters of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Vladlen Tatarsky was killed last month. The blogger had reported from the Ukrainian frontline and gained notoriety last year after posting a video filmed inside the Kremlin in which he said: “We will defeat everyone, we will kill everyone , we’ll rob everyone if necessary. Just the way we like it.”

Activist Darya Trepova, 26, was later arrested and charged with terrorism following the release of a video – believed to have been recorded under duress – in which she admitted bringing a statuette to the cafe which then exploded .

It is believed that his father, the Russian ultra-nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin, known as “the mastermind of Putin”, could have been the target of this attack.

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