- Share to or
‘I’m confident she was set up’ What we know about Daria Trepova, the woman accused of killing pro-Kremlin blogger Vladlen Tatarsky
On April 2, pro-Kremlin blogger Vladlen Tatarsky was killed in an explosion while giving a public talk at a St. Petersburg cafe called Street Food Bar No. 1, which is owned by Wagner mercenary group founder Evgeny Prigozhin. The Russian authorities’ prime suspect in the murder is a woman who was filmed handing a plaster bust to Tatarsky shortly before the blast. Investigators believe the object might have contained a radio-controlled explosive device with the power of up to 200 grams of TNT.
Initial media reports suggested the authorities were searching for a woman from the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk named Maria Yarun. Later, sources from Russian law enforcement told journalists that investigators were searching for a St. Petersburg resident named Daria Trepova and her husband, Dmitry Rylov.
The St. Petersburg outlet Fontanka published photos that show the suspect at the event before the explosion. Other outlets have posted security camera footage that shows a young woman bringing a box into the cafe.
After investigators searched multiple homes whose addresses were associated with Trepova, the Russian newspaper Interfax reported that she had been arrested. The Russian authorities later confirmed her arrest. According to various media reports, Russian security officers may have questioned both Trepova’s mother and her sister. The Telegram channel Astra reported that Trepova’s mother said she saw her daughter shortly before the explosion on Sunday, and that she didn’t notice her behaving strangely
According to the Telegram channel Baza, Daria Trepova is known in St. Petersburg feminist and political activist circles as “Dasha Tykovka,” which was also her name on Twitter. She previously worked as a cashier at a vintage clothing store. Some time ago, she moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow, but she returned to St. Petersburg on the day before the explosion. According to preliminary reports, she planned to leave the country on Sunday evening.
The human rights project OVD-Info has reported that Daria Trepova and Dmitry Rylov were both arrested at an anti-war protest on February 24, 2022, and Trepova was jailed for 10 days. Rylov is a member of the St. Petersburg chapter of Russia’s Libertarian Party. A party representative reportedly told the Telegram channel Sota that Rylov is currently living outside of Russia and was not involved in the explosion.
Two of Trepova’s friends told the independent outlet Agentstvo that she was opposed to the war in Ukraine, but that she also didn’t hold any “radical” views. They described Trepova’s marriage to Rylov as a “joke.” “I know that she had a husband, but as far as I know, the wedding was a joke, and they haven’t been in contact. At the very least, she hasn’t mentioned him for the last six months,” one of the women said.
An anonymous Telegram channel associated with Russia’s security agencies published excerpts of messages between Daria Trepova and a friend. According to the channel’s authors, after the incident, Trepova wrote in a secret chat: “I could have died there, I wish I’d have died there, I was framed.”
Dmitry Rylov also said that his wife was framed. “I’m fully confident that she never could have done something like that willingly. Yes, Daria and I really don’t support the war, but we believe actions like that one are unacceptable,” he told journalists. “My wife was set up, because she would never kill anyone.”
The Telegram channel Mash na Moike said that Trepova was recruited by “Ukrainian journalists.” According to the channel’s authors, the suspect told friends that she was receiving assignments from “journalists,” and that most of the tasks involved handing off packages. In exchange, the channel said, she received financial compensation.
According to sources from Russian law enforcement who spoke to RBC, investigators haven’t ruled out the possibility that Trepova was an unwitting accomplice and didn’t realize that the bust she hadn’t to Tatarsky contained a bomb. The source said that Trepova had previously corresponded with Tatarsky in writing and had attended other events where he was featured.
- Share to or