A video went viral on social media Sunday afternoon showing the moment a bomb detonated at a café in St. Petersburg, Russia, resulting in the death of pro-Kremlin propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky.
The explosion occurred at around 6:13 p.m. local time in central St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, according to a report from Russian news agency TASS. Tatarsky was killed and at least 16 others were injured in the blast.
Tatarsky was known as a popular war blogger who frequently posted to his Telegram channel, where he amassed more than 550,000 subscribers, about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Like many other Russian military bloggers, Tatarsky vocally supported the goals of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, which has now lasted for more than 14 months, but grew increasingly critical of Kremlin leadership as Russian troops struggled to achieve substantial goals in the conflict.
Police in St. Petersburg, Russia, are seen inspecting a damaged café where a bomb detonated Sunday evening, killing popular pro-Kremlin military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky. Videos showing the explosion spread across social media Sunday afternoon.
OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images
Details about the explosion, including its cause, remain unclear. Russian state media RIA Novosti reported that one source who was in the café at the time of the explosion said a girl gave the blogger a figurine containing an explosive device, but this account of events could not be independently verified.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Video of the blast was shared to Twitter, being viewed hundreds of thousands of times by late Sunday afternoon.
A source tells Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) has been killed by a blast in a cafe in St Petersburg where he was giving a talk
He previously said Ukrainians were mentally ill Russians https://t.co/vr1fYWFxvu pic.twitter.com/oN0Gv0TCHS
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) April 2, 2023
Russian authorities have launched a criminal investigation into Tatarsky’s death, according to RIA Novosti. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova condemned the bombing in a Telegram post, writing, “Law enforcement agencies will still give a legal qualification of what happened. We will give a moral one.”
“Russian journalists are constantly experiencing death threats from the Kiev regime and its masterminds, which are increasingly being implemented,” she wrote. “They are harassed, branded in the literal sense with special markings on the digital platforms of American Internet monopolies and arrange a “witch hunt” in the Western media.”
In addition to blogging about the Russia-Ukraine war, Tatarsky also joined the invasion himself. He has said he helped build fortifications and launch combat drones, according to the BBC. He previously rose to prominence for a video he made during a Kremlin ceremony announcing a partial mobilization of troops last year in which he boasted that Russian forces would “kill” Ukrainians.
“We will defeat everyone, we will kill everyone, we will rob everyone as necessary. Just as we like it,” he said in the video.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also responded to the bombing on Twitter.
“It begins in RF… Spiders are eating each other in a jar. Question of when domestic terrorism would become an instrument of internal political fight was a matter of time, as breakthrough of ripe abscess. Irreversible processes and Troubles 2.0. await RF. While we will watch,” he tweeted.
It begins in RF… Spiders are eating each other in a jar. Question of when domestic terrorism would become an instrument of internal political fight was a matter of time, as breakthrough of ripe abscess. Irreversible processes and Troubles 2.0. await RF. While we will watch.