Hundreds attend Moscow funeral of pro-war blogger By Reuters
© Reuters. People attend the funeral of Russian military blogger Maxim Fomin widely known by the name of Vladlen Tatarsky, who was recently killed in a bomb attack in a St Petersburg cafe, in Moscow, Russia, April 8, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Hundreds of mourners, including the leader of Russia’s Wagner private militia group, attended the funeral on Saturday of pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who was killed on April 2 in a cafe bomb blast that Moscow has blamed on Ukraine.
Russia charged Darya Trepova, 26, on Tuesday with terrorist offences over the killing of Tatarsky in the St Petersburg cafe where he had been due to talk. She was remanded in custody and could face up to 20 years in jail.
The 40-year-old Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, was accorded military honours including a gun salute and an army band at the funeral at Moscow’s Troyekurovskoye cemetery due to his past participation in military operations in eastern Ukraine alongside Moscow-backed separatists battling Kyiv’s forces.
Tatarsky was among the best-known members of an influential group of bloggers who have provided a running commentary on the fighting in Ukraine. He was often scathing about Russia’s defence establishment but strongly backed Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and said they should be pursued more aggressively.
“Vladlen has proven that today the front line passes everywhere: in the zone of military action, in the rear, and in cities, hearts and minds,” said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the Telegram messaging app, noting he had died “in the centre of peaceful St Petersburg at terrorists’ hands”.
Tatarsky made extensive reporting trips to the front lines in Ukraine and had ties to Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who on Saturday thanked the blogger on behalf of his fighters.
“Vladlen Tatarsky did a lot so that we could move towards victory and destroy the enemy,” Prigozhin’s press service quoted him as saying. “He is a soldier who will stay with us, whose voice will live on forever …”
Prigozhin is also known for his sharp criticism of Russia’s top brass over their performance in Ukraine. The Wagner group has been spearheading efforts in recent months to capture the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
Ukraine has not taken responsibility for the cafe bomb blast and instead blamed “domestic terrorism” in Russia.