January 25, 2024, 12:35 GMT
Updated 1 hour ago
Trepova said she believes the statuette that killed Tatarski contained a listening device, not a bomb
Russian Darya Trepova has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for the murder of war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky last April.
Tatarsky was killed by a bomb in a statuette given to him by Trepova when he was about to give a lecture in St. Petersburg. Dozens were injured in the explosion.
Trepova, 26, denied the allegations and said she believed the statuette contained a listening device.
She said she acted on orders from a Ukrainian contact and was framed.
The sentence is one of the harshest handed down to a woman in Russian history.
The attack on 40-year-old Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) occurred on April 2, 2023.
Trepova was charged with “an act of terrorism by an organized group involving intentional homicide” and “illegal possession of explosive devices by an organized group.”
Russian investigators accused Ukraine of being behind the attack, and Ukrainian officials have neither confirmed nor denied this.
But Trepova told the court that she was following the orders of a man in Ukraine known as Gestalt (German for “shape”). His identity is not known.
She said she contacted him through Ukraine-based journalist Roman Popkov. She is against Russia's war in Ukraine and wanted to work as a journalist there.
Trepova said that under Gestalt's guidance, she gained Tatarsky's trust by introducing herself to him as an art student named Anastasia Kriulina and attending his lectures.
In March, Gestalt sent her the statuette, she said, assuring her that it contained a listening device and a tracking device. She said she expressed concern that it might contain a bomb.
“I am deeply pained and ashamed that my gullibility and naivety have led to such catastrophic consequences. I didn’t want to hurt anyone,” Trepova said in court this week, quoted by Portal.
“I am particularly pained and ashamed that a terrorist attack was committed by myself.”
Image source: Vladlen Tatarsky/Telegram
Vladlen Tatarsky criticized the military for its conduct of the war in Ukraine
Tatarsky was a well-known blogger with more than half a million followers and had a criminal past.
Born in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, he said he joined Russian-backed separatists when they released him from prison where he was serving a sentence for armed robbery.
He was part of a pro-Kremlin military blogger community that has assumed a relatively prominent role since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
Tatarsky was among those who went so far as to criticize Russian authorities and condemn the military and even President Vladimir Putin for setbacks on the battlefield.
But he was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage by Mr Putin.
Trepova's sentencing comes shortly after another controversial war advocate, former commander of the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, Igor Girkin, was sentenced to four years in prison for “calling for extremist activities.”
Watch: The moments before the cafe explosion in St. Petersburg