Shocking footage shows the moment a statue laden with bombs exploded inside a St Petersburg cafe and killed one of Vladimir Putin‘s propagandists.
Vladlen Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, was blown to pieces on Sunday after Daria Trepova, 26, reportedly entered the cafe and handed him a small statue of himself filled with explosives.
Video has emerged showing Tatarsky engaging with Trepova, who was arrested yesterday on suspicion of his murder, and saying ‘what a handsome guy, is that me?’ moments before the explosion ripped through the Street Food No 1 cafe and killed him.
Further footage shows the pro-war blogger placing the statuette back into its packaging on a small table before it exploded.
A third video shows the former art student emerging minutes later from the cafe alongside blood-soaked victims of the explosion, before leaving the scene alone.
Shocking footage shows the moment a statue laden with bombs exploded inside a cafe in St Petersburg and killed one of Vladimir Putin’s propagandists
Video has now emerged showing Tatarsky engaging with Trepova (pictured), who was arrested yesterday on suspicion of his murder, moments before the explosion ripped through the cafe and killed him
A third video shows the 26-year-old former art student emerging minutes later outside the cafe alongside blood-soaked victims of the explosion, before leaving the scene alone
Investigators have arrested Trepova (left) on suspicion of murdering Tatarsky (right) after she fled from the scene
Russian investigators are searching the cafe where a pro-Kremlin blogger who called for the destruction of Ukraine was ‘assassinated’ and 32 others were wounded in a bomb attack
The new footage comes as the Russian propaganda machine moved to blame Trepova for planting the bomb inside the statuette.
But Trepova insisted she was the victim of a ‘set up’ after she was arrested in a St Petersburg flat yesterday.
She later appeared in a video, released by Russian authorities, with her hands chained to a radiator in a room.
In the video, most likely filmed under duress, Trepova admitted delivering the explosive-laden statue to the cafe.
Trepova told the Russian investigators she would tell them who gave her the explosive-laded statuette ‘later’. It is not clear why Trepova was not in a cell when being questioned.
Russian authorities classified the case as an act of terrorism, giving police more power to pursue their investigation, increasing the maximum punishment and limiting the rights of suspects.
According to Russian media reports, police tracked Trepova down using surveillance cameras, though she reportedly cut her long blonde hair short to change her look and rented a different apartment in an apparent attempt to escape.
Tatarsky, a staunch supporter of Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, had been speaking at a political event at the cafe when the bomb exploded next to him, killing the propagandist and injuring 32 others in what the Kremlin claimed was a ‘terrorist attack’.
Russia’s top counterterrorism agency had earlier claimed – without providing evidence – that Trepova had carried out the attack with the help of ‘Ukrainian special services’ and activists who are linked to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Witnesses said that Trepova had used a false name of Nastya when she handed Tatarsky the statuette inside the cafe – and was then reluctant to get close to him when he asked her to sit next to him.
One witness, Alisa Smotrova, said ‘Nastya’ told Tatarsky that she had made a bust of the blogger but that guards asked her to leave it at the door, suspecting it could be a bomb.
But Tatarsky joked and laughed with ‘Nastya’ and insisted on seeing the statuette. She then went to the door, grabbed the bust and presented it to Tatarsky.
In the last video to show him alive, he says enthusiastically to Trepova: ‘Nastya, Nastya! Come and sit here!’
She replies – possibly anxious not to be close to an explosion: ‘I am too shy.’
He tells her to sit near him during a pro-war seminar but she edges away: ‘Take a seat here, or there, or wherever you want…’
She tells him she will sit ‘in the armchair’ and moves well to the side, away from Tatarsky and the statuette.
Daria Trepova, 26, appeared in an interrogation video today where she admitted taking the small statue to Kremlin propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky, 40, whose real name is Maxim Fomin, before he was blown to pieces in the blast on Sunday
Daria Trepova, 26, was filmed with her hands chained to a radiator while being interrogated by Russian investigators over the assassination of Tatarsky
A video is believed to show Daria Trepova, 26, walking to the cafe carrying a box containing what may have been the statuette said to be filled with 450g of TNT
Tatarsky was killed in a blast at the Street Food No. 1 cafe, located in the St Petersburg city centre, on Sunday
The moment of the explosion that killed pro-Kremlin war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky and wounded more dozens of people
He then examines the gold-coloured statuette: ‘Oh wow! What a beautiful lad, is it me? Let’s take it out.’
He appears happy, saying: ‘A golden Vladlen, perfect. Thank God, I am much better-looking…’
Then he is seen in a video from 112 media – with links to law enforcement and the security services- packing the statuette back in its box. This is when the bomb suddenly explodes.
Separate footage shows the scene outside the St Petersburg cafe as people bloodied from the blast emerge through the doorway.
Trepova is seen fleetingly in her overcoat emerging uninjured and briefly exchanging remarks with another person before she walks away.
On the pavement, those emerging from the cafe are plainly in shock.
They call for ambulances and tell passersby that they suspect Tatarsky had been killed.
‘I think our speaker is gone,’ said one. Others say it was a ‘terrorist attack… a bomb exploded.’
It came after chilling video appeared to show Trepova, a St Petersburg resident who had been previously detained for taking part in anti-war rallies, walking into the cafe carrying a box containing what may have been statuette filled with 450g of TNT – just minutes before it exploded.
Trepova’s partner, Dmitry Rylov – also in his 20s and a member of the so-called Russian Liberation Army – insisted that she had been ‘set up’.
Rylov, who had previously been detained at anti-war rallies in Russia, said today: ‘I believe that my wife was set up. I am in full confidence that she would never be able to do something like that on her own volition.
‘Yes, with Daria we really do not support the war in Ukraine, but we believe that such actions are unacceptable.
‘I am 100 per cent sure that she would never have agreed to such a thing if she had known.’
According to him, she ‘completely misunderstood the purpose’ of the statuette she gave to Tatarsky.
It emerged that a Telegram channel linked to Trepova allegedly showed she had previously made statuettes from gypsum – a material that might prevent detection of explosives.
Daria Trepova, suspected of bringing explosives to the cafe where war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) was killed in an explosion the day before, is escorted inside the building of Russian Investigative Committee, in Saint Petersburg
Trepova was dragged into the Russian Investigative Commission building by security guards
Images from inside the cafe appear to show Trepova (pictured) handing Tatarsky a bust of himself before she began walking back to her seat
Suspect Daria Trepova, 26, with her partner Dmitry Rylov. Rylov, also in his 20s and a member of the so-called Russian Liberation Army, insisted that she had been ‘set up’.
An image shows Daria Trepova on Russia’s wanted list as published by the Interior Ministry. She was later arrested on suspicion of murder
Law enforcement initially appeared in doubt whether the woman was a ‘useful idiot’ who carried the statuette and presented it to Tatarsky without knowing it was a bomb – or a knowing participant in an assassination plot.
Russian propagandists and pro-Putin media were turning on her by early today.
Influential Margarita Simonyan, head of the RT propaganda empire, hailed Tatarsky – an advocate of ‘total war’ against Ukraine – as ‘one of the brightest representatives of our camp of patriots’ – while Trepova was an ‘animal’ and a ‘murderer’.
Like Putin, they see Ukraine as taken over by neoNazis who must be expunged.
‘As for that animal [Daria Trepova] who, thank God, was detained,’ said Simonyan, a Kremlin mouthpiece. ‘I want to thank everyone involved for arresting her quite quickly.
Without providing evidence, Simonyan insisted: ‘It’s clear she is not some mad young woman. No, this is an absolutely planned story. The murderer is now in the bear paws of Russian justice.
‘I have no doubt she will never leave them before the end of her days.’
Yet there has been speculation that some in the pro-Putin camp may have wanted Tatarsky dead, just as much as anti-war campaigners or Ukraine.
This is the moment Tatarsky was handed a statuette that is believed to have been hiding the bomb that exploded at Street Food Bar No. 1
Well-known Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky (pictured) was killed in a bomb blast in a cafe in St Petersburg on Sunday
Trepova (pictured) is accused of planting the bomb inside the statuette that killed Tatarsky
He had relentlessly criticised Putin’s main generals for incompetence and lack of ambition in the war.
Pro-Kremlin Readovka said Trepova had previously made themed statuettes of soldiers, branding her a ‘terrorist’ who ‘knew that she was going to kill’.
She ‘made with her own hands the statuette stuffed with a bomb’, alleged the outlet.
Her sculptures has been displayed online, it stated.
‘Obviously, all attempts by Trepova, who has been following Vladlen for a long time, to shift the blame to curators who allegedly use her are a blatant hypocritical lie, since the terrorist clearly went to the cafe with one sole purpose – to vilely kill the military correspondent [Tatarsky].’
Readovka – which has close links to Wagner private army founder Yevgeny Prigozhin as well as the Russian authorities – said: ‘Daria did not expect that Vladlen Tatarsky would immediately pack the gift back into its box.
‘According to her idea, he should have done this later, when the terrorist had already escaped from the cafe.
‘Hence her nervous reaction – she instinctively hid her face, covered herself and tried to leave [before the explosion].’
It claimed that ‘not everything went according to her cruel and cannibalistic plan, but the cruel goal was still achieved – Vladlen died, and there was not a scratch on her’.
The National Anti-Terrorism Committee in Russia claimed the killing of Tatarsky had sbeen masterminded by Ukraine’s special services with help from agents collaborating with jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation.
It gave no evidence for this assertion but Trepova is seen as having been a supporter of the foundation.
Another attempt to claim she was under orders from Kyiv was an assertion that she had been trained by a Ukrainian journalist, Roman Popkov.
She was asked to complete a task for a man who was an agent in the SBU – Ukrainian secret services, it was alleged.
Another attempt to claim she was under orders from Kyiv was an assertion that she had been trained by a Ukrainian journalist, Roman Popkov (pictured)
A police officer walks at the site of the explosion at the cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday
Popkov – who runs a website on Russian partisans – denied this.
‘I didn’t give any orders to Dasha [Daria],’ he said.
‘I didn’t introduce her to any Ukrainian intelligence officers.’
He said: ‘I did not command the operation to destroy this Tatar ghoul, although I regret it – he deserved what he got.
‘It’s hard for me to command such things, if only because in Russia, in the clutches of this regime, my mother and younger brother live.
‘Now the special forces are probably breaking into their house.’
His site is ‘dedicated to chronicling the Russian partisan movement – the Russian armed struggle against [Vladimir Putin’s] insane regime. An absolutely legitimate fight.’
Another propagandist Sergey Karnaukhov, a political analyst, TV host, former counterintelligence officer, expressed fear for the lives of other staunchly pro-Putin cheerleaders.
He asked: ‘Which one of us will they kill next? And where? When leaving home?
‘A quadcopter through a window? A car bomb? Pushed under an underground train? How many of us will be alive by the end of [war]?’