“At 6:13 p.m., the police in the Vasileostrovsky district received information that an explosion had occurred in a cafe on the bank of Universitețkaia 25. As a result of the incident, one person died, who turned out to be the military correspondent Vladlen Tatarski,” the police said in a statement.
Another 30 people were injured in the explosion, of which 24 were hospitalized, six of them in serious condition, the Russian Ministry of Health said.
In the cafe, a “creative evening” was held for Tatarski – photos broadcast by Telegram channels show two tables where people are sitting, and in front of them a screen with Tatarski’s portrait and the words “There is such a profession as a military correspondent.”
Eyewitnesses told the newspaper’s correspondent that the explosion occurred after a young woman presented Vladlen Tatarski with a statuette. According to Tatarski’s comments in the images released it was a bust of Tatarski himself, wearing a military helmet.
A witness said that the guest with the gift introduced herself as the artist Nastea, who was sitting alone at the table. According to reports, the young woman went to the locker room and brought back a large box containing “something plated with gold.” Tatarski joked, accepting the gift, the girl returned to her place, three minutes later – “explosion, flames, everyone runs.” The Russian press writes that the donor of the statue is wanted by the police.
Propaganda broadcaster RT also cited an eyewitness account, claiming the woman remained in the hall for some time after handing over the statuette.
However, according to the sources of the television station, the version according to which explosives were placed in the hall in advance is also being considered.
On Monday evening, Russian media reported that law enforcement authorities suspect Daria Trepova, a resident of St. Petersburg (the information has not been officially confirmed), to have planned the explosion at Tatarski’s “creative evening.” According to several publications, her house in St. Petersburg was searched and some of her relatives were detained.
Interfax sources initially reported that Trepova had been detained, but several other media outlets later said that the search for her was ongoing.
“Voenkor”, a close acquaintance of Vladlen Tatarski, told the BBC that the blogger was taken to hospital and had already died in intensive care.
The investigative committee opened a criminal case under the article on the crime committed by “general danger” (part 2 of article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). It carries penalties of eight to 20 years in prison or life imprisonment (as well as the death penalty, which is commuted to life imprisonment).
Who is Vladlen Tatarski?
Vladlen Tatarski, 40, is a well-known Z-blogger with over half a million subscribers on his TV channel. Tatarski is a pseudonym, his real name being Maxim Fomin. He was born in Makeievka, Donetsk region.
The Russian press calls Tatarski a war correspondent, but he was not a journalist and participated in the military actions in Ukraine. According to media reports, before the start of the war in Ukraine in 2014, Tatarsko was imprisoned for armed robbery of a bank.
At the end of September, the blogger was invited to the Kremlin for the signing of treaties on the annexation of four Ukrainian regions. From there, he recorded a call as if endorsing the Kremlin’s actions: “We will beat everybody, we will kill everybody, we will rob everybody. Everything will be as we like it. Come on, God bless you.”
Tatarski has been actively posting content on his Telegram channel since early Sunday morning. In addition to posting videos from the battlefield, he commented on “the construction of a mosque on a holy site for Orthodox Christians.”
A few hours before the event, Tatarski organized a “closed meeting” at the Listva bookstore.
“This format was chosen for security reasons and, unfortunately, we were not mistaken,” the establishment’s Telegram channel said.
p class=”mb-8 px-6 md:px-0 font-bitter text-s17-l170 md:text-s18-l170 text-c121212″>Tatarski is described there as “a target for Ukrainian terrorists”.
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