Women killing Russian war blogger says handler lied about bomb - MilectoWomen killing Russian war blogger says handler lied about bomb - Milecto

A Russian woman accused of killing a famous pro-war writer said in court on Tuesday that she thought the package she gave him at a St. Petersburg bar held a listening device instead of a bomb when she gave it to him.

Darya Trepova said she was doing what someone in Ukraine told her to do. This person named “Gestalt” (which means “Shape” in German). Over the course of several months, this person had been giving her money and orders leading up to the killing of writer Vladlen Tatarsky on April 2, 2013.

Following the attack, Russia swiftly accused Ukraine of orchestrating the murder of Vladlen Tatarsky. Despite the immediate accusations, high-ranking Ukrainian officials have neither taken responsibility nor explicitly denied any involvement. Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak characterized the incident as “internal terrorism.”

Tatarsky met his tragic end when a bomb concealed within a statuette, handed to him by Darya Trepova during a cafe talk attended by around 100 people, detonated. The figurine, a roughly crafted likeness of Tatarsky, was accepted by him as a gift. Witnesses in the trial revealed that he jokingly referred to it as “Golden Vladlen” and playfully examined it before the explosion occurred, resulting in his instant death and injuring numerous others.

The true identity of “Gestalt” remains shrouded in uncertainty.

Trepova, who is 26 years old, told the judge in her hearing in St. Petersburg on Tuesday that she met the guy known as “Gestalt” through a writer from Ukraine named Roman Popkov, who she had met on Twitter. In her conversation with Popkov, she told him that she was against Russia’s attack and felt sorry for Ukraine. She also asked for help moving to Ukraine to become a writer.

Russian detectives have accused Popkov of “planning the execution of a terrorist act” even though he is not in Russia. Even so, Popkov has strongly denied having any connection to the claimed crime.

STATUETTE

While being coached by Gestalt, Trepova admitted that she had gone to Tatarsky’s classes in early 2023 and introduced herself to him as an art student named Anastasia Kriulina.

Tatarsky sent her the figure in the mail in March, along with directions on how to give it to him in person. For the court record, Trepova said that she thought at that moment that the figure might be a bomb. She talked about her fear by bringing up the case of Darya Dugina, a pro-war writer who died in a car explosion near Moscow in 2022. A report from the independent Russian news site Mediazona says she told Gestalt, “Isn’t this the same as with Darya Dugina?” Gestalt told her it wasn’t an explosive device, just a wiretap and a tracker, to comfort her.

Trepova said she was worried and stressed that giving over a listening device was already against the law and broke privacy laws. She did it anyway because she didn’t think she could be influenced in that way, even though she was scared. She thought that the reason for listening in on Tatarsky was to find out more about what he knew about the war in Ukraine, which she was against.

After the blast, Trepova said that he talked to Gestalt by calling him. She swore at him out of anger, pointing out the damage he had done and realising that she had something to do with it. Trepova told him with tears in her eyes that she knew the figure had gone off.

During the talk with Gestalt, Trepova said she kept expressing her shock in an angry way. “When you come to Ukraine and visit us, you can hit me,” Gestalt allegedly told her, which made her even more angry and upset.

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