‘I didn’t notice the sword in my own hands’ Daria Trepova, charged with killing pro-Kremlin war blogger Vladlen Tatarksy, speaks out from jail
On April 2, an explosion in a St. Petersburg cafe killed pro-Kremlin war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky and injured around 40 other people. The blast occurred shortly after Daria Trepova handed Tatarsky a small bust of himself, which investigators believe was packed with radio-controlled explosives. The authorities arrested Trepova the following day, after searching her mother’s home and interrogating the woman. Trepova and some of her close associates insist that, though she is against the war in Ukraine, she was framed as Tatarsky’s killer. From pre-trial detention, Trepova wrote to the publication Rotonda. Meduza is publishing an abridged English-language translation of her message.
I deeply regret what happened, I pray for the health of those who were injured, and I’m trying to organize a fundraiser for them. So that my sympathies don’t seem cynical, I’ll add that I survived, it seems, purely by chance.
When I realized what had happened, I immediately wrote to my mom and apologized. I was so ashamed when I saw footage of [police officers] storming her apartment. Officials told me that, when she was taken in for interrogation, my mother screamed that she would kill me. That makes me want to die. The Investigative Committee let me call my mom, but she didn’t pick up.
I’ve always been interested in vintage clothes. I worked in a shop, but in January, I quit because of disagreements with the owner. I thought this was a period of growth, since at the same time a journalist friend invited me to go to Ukraine and try out being a war blogger.
My jail cell is cold, and I was totally alone at first — no books, no cigarettes — and that was unbearable. Now, I watch a lot of the [children’s] television channel Carousel. On other channels, there’s a risk that I’ll see footage of you-know-what. I’m sad that I can’t lie around at home anymore and watch cartoons with my sister.
To stay strong, I wrote myself a letter saying that I would never have a hand in violence, that there are people who know me and sympathize with me, that I’ll hurt my loved ones if I die.
Kanye West [Matthew 10:34] once said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Now I keep wondering how it’s possible that I didn’t notice the sword in my own hands. The most unbearable thing is that my hands killed one person and wounded dozens. Without diminishing my guilt, there’s one thing I’d like to say: violence begets violence.