Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Says Former Bolshevik Party Leader Behind Pro-War Blogger’s Murder

Roman Popkov Roman Popkov / Facebook

Russian investigative authorities on Thursday named Roman Popkov, a journalist and former leader of the radical leftist National Bolshevik Party, as the organizer of a prominent pro-war blogger’s assassination. 

Vladlen Tatarsky, a vocal supporter of the invasion of Ukraine, was killed in a bomb blast after being gifted a golden figurine containing an explosive device at an April 2 event at a St. Petersburg cafe on April 2. Dozens of others were injured.

Shortly after the incident, Russian authorities arrested 26-year-old St. Petersburg native Daria Trepova, who was filmed handing Tatarsky the statuette.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said Popkov, 44, “corresponded with Trepova on social networks and gave her instructions regarding the preparation of a terrorist act.”

The Investigative Committee charged Popkov — who currently lives in Ukraine — with criminal charges of “orchestrating an execution of a terrorist act” in absentia.

His name and photo had appeared on Russia's federal wanted list earlier Thursday.

Though Popkov has confirmed being acquainted with Trepova, the activist denied that he was involved with Tatarasky’s murder or linked to the Ukrainian intelligence services, which Russia claims organized the attack. 

“I gave no orders to Dasha and didn’t introduce her to any Ukrainian agents,” Popkov wrote on the Telegram messaging app shortly after Trepova’s arrest. 

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in April named Ukrainian citizen Yuriy Denisov as another organizer of Tatarsky’s murder. 

Ukrainian officials have described the St. Petersburg cafe bomb blast as an act of "domestic terrorism."

A Russian court on Thursday extended Trepova’s pre-trial arrest at Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison until Sept. 2. 

The National Bolshevik Party is banned in Russia.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more