The recent assassination of Darya Dugin, the daughter of Putin advisor Aleksandr Dugin may be the mark of an internal and organized uprising in Russia.  A group calling itself the National Republican Army has claimed responsibility for the act and confirmed that Dugin was the target.

Appearing on the TV show, “Utro Fevralya,” former member of the Russian Duma and now exile Ilya Ponomaryov stated the group contacted him through a Telegram channel he created called RosPartizan or “Russian Partisan,” by persons saying they were involved in the “guerilla struggle” against the Putin regime.  Utro Fevralya is a show broadcast somewhere in Europe that presents anti-Putin views and news by Russians. Ponomaryov stated that this group was not members of existing Anarcho-Communist, or other Far Right groups but represented a “new partisan” organization within Russia. In the interview, Ponomaryov said that those who had initially made contact with them were killed by the Russian state security service, the FSB and that his organization had helped them with material support and arranged for the protection of other members.

Ponomaryov himself is considered a fugitive from Russian justice living in Ukraine.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a Master’s degree in public administration from Moscow University. He worked in the nuclear field briefly and at one time was head of communications for the Communist Party of Russia from 2002-2007.  He has also been the VP of what was then Russia’s largest oil company, Yukos.  In 2007, he was elected to the Duma. His political views are a mix of classic liberalism and socialism. In 2012, he took a leading role in opposition to Putin’s rise to power as president and was the only member of the Duma to vote against Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2012, believing it would permanently ruin relations with Ukraine and lead to NATO expansion.  He was widely denounced as a traitor and called for his expulsion from the Duma.

While visiting California in 2014, his bank accounts were frozen and he was informed he was barred from returning to Russia because he was under investigation for embezzlement, making it pretty hard for him to mount an effective defense against the charges. While in exile in Ukraine, he has remained a vocal critic of the Putin regime, calling for it to be replaced with an entirely new system that is a mixture of federalism and direct democracy.