On January 25, a court in St. Petersburg found Daria Trepova guilty of murdering Russian pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky and sentenced her to 27 years in prison.
The 26-year-old Trepova was also ordered to pay a fine of 600,000 roubles (approximately $6,750), according to a statement issued by the joint press service of the courts of St. Petersburg.
Trepova, charged with terrorism, trafficking explosives, and document forgery, confessed only to the latter. She maintained her innocence, insisting that she was set up and unaware that the statuette she presented to Tatarsky at a café in St. Petersburg was rigged with a bomb.
“I feel pain and shame that my naivety and gullibility led to such catastrophic consequences,” she said in her final word in court.
Dmitry Kasintsev, the owner of the apartment where Trepova was found and arrested after Tatarsky’s death, was tried alongside her. The court sentenced him to one year and nine months in prison for his involvement in “concealing a particularly grave crime.”
The court also said it had levied a total of 16.495 million roubles (close to $185,600) of fines from Trepova related to civil claims.
The Russian Criminal Code states that the maximum term of imprisonment for multiple offenses cannot exceed 30 years. If a person is convicted of multiple crimes, at least one of which involves terrorism, the maximum sentence increases to 35 years.
Daria Trepova was found guilty of the following crimes:
- Part 4 of Article 327 — forgery, production or trafficking forged documents;
- Part 4 of Article 222.1 — illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, forwarding or carrying explosives or explosive devices;
- Point “B”, Part 3, Article 205 — terrorist act resulting in the death of a person.
Pro-war propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky was murdered on April 2, 2023, during a “creative evening” in a St. Petersburg cafe owned by Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin), a vocal supporter of the war in Ukraine and a prominent Russian pro-war blogger, was at the event giving a talk to an audience of around 100 people. CCTV footage later showed Trepova leaving the café after the blast, looking visibly distressed.
Trepova was detained the following day in an apartment in St. Petersburg. The woman was accused of bringing a small statue stuffed with explosives to the meeting and gifting it to Tatarsky. The device detonated soon after, killing the propagandist and wounding over 30 people.
Trepova later claimed that she did not know about the explosives in the statue and said that she had been set up. According to her testimony, she carried the figurine on the assignment of journalist Roman Popkov, thinking that there was a recording device inside.
Russian propagandists turned to blame Ukraine's security services for the killing and accused multiple other people of being complicit in the murder. Russian investigative authorities eventually named Roman Popkov, a journalist and former leader of the radical leftist National Bolshevik Party, as the organizer of Tatarsky’s murder.
In June 2023, Russia’s Investigative Committee charged Popkov — who currently lives in Ukraine — with criminal charges of “orchestrating an execution of a terrorist act” in absentia.