Michael Weiss and James Rushton write:
An infamous pro-Russian combatant turned propagandist, known by the pseudonym Vladlen Tatarsky, was killed in a St. Petersburg cafe on Sunday, in an explosion that injured at least 25 others, according to the Russian government.
Footage captured on a cellphone just before the explosion showed Tatarsky examining a statuette of a miner. Tatarsky was himself formerly a miner, and his Ukrainian hometown is in a region known for its coal mining and heavy industry. “What a beautiful guy,” Tatarsky said, while examining the statue, before joking, “I’m much prettier!”
Moments later, the explosives hidden inside the bust detonated, killing Tatarsky instantly.
Attendees who survived the blast claimed Tatarsky was presented with the statue by a woman. Five minutes after the statue was handed to Tatarsky, an explosion tore through the cafe. Russian media reported that 26-year-old St. Petersburg resident Darya Trepova, who had previously been arrested for participation in antiwar rallies in February 2022, was detained as a suspect in the attack.
Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, is from Marinka, a city in eastern Ukraine that was previously under the control of the Soviet Union. In 2014, he was in prison as a convicted bank robber, but he managed to escape as Russian-backed forces seized the region. He joined the military of the Luhansk People’s Republic, a Moscow puppet government set up in Eastern Ukraine, before later becoming an influential military blogger, amassing nearly 560,000 followers on Telegram. Despite his blogging career, Tatarsky was often pictured armed, in full combat dress, and wearing Russian military identification during his frequent forays into Ukraine. [Continue reading…]