Russian pro-war writer, Zakhar Prilepin, defiant after car bomb attack

A Russian pro-war author who was severely injured in a car bombing stated that the apparent assault on his life would not intimidate him.

Zakhar Prilepin, an ardent supporter of Russia's campaign in Ukraine, stated that he survived by driving. Under the passenger seat was the bomb that killed his companion Alexander Shubin. According to investigators, a suspect named Alexander Permyakov has confessed to working for Ukraine.

Initial reports indicated that Prilepin was in the passenger seat and his driver was killed, but Prilepin stated that he was in fact the driver. The explosion fractured both of his legs, he said, adding that he had just dropped off his daughter five minutes earlier. "You will not intimidate anyone," he warned the attackers. Adding that it should have been impossible to endure such an explosion, he thanked everyone who prayed.

Prior to 2014, the prize-winning author and veteran of Moscow's bloody wars in Chechnya was one of Russia's most renowned authors and a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin. In recent years, however, Prilepin, who has long been associated with Russian ultranationalist politics, appears to have reconciled with Mr. Putin and become an ardent supporter of the Ukraine invasion.

The 47-year-old acknowledged fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and demanded the "return of Kiev to Russia." A group founded by Prilepin urged officials to "purge the cultural space" of all those who opposed the conflict in the previous year.

Alexander Permyakov is accused by Russia's Investigative Committee (SK), which investigates severe crimes including terrorism, of detonating a remote-controlled bomb that destroyed Prilepin's Audi. The SK claims he was captured in a nearby village. The region is located more than 425 kilometers east of Moscow.

According to the SK, he "admitted carrying out a mission for the Ukrainian secret services." The Ukrainian and Crimean Tartar partisan organization Atesh claimed responsibility for the assault on Prilepin. However, sources cannot verify the claims. 

The Ukrainian security service (SBU) issued its standard response, declining to comment on the attack or a claim by the Russian foreign ministry that Ukraine, supported by the U.S. government, had targeted Prilepin.

The attack is the most recent to target prominent supporters of President Vladimir Putin's Ukraine conflict.

Last month, Vladlen Tatarsky was murdered. Last year, the blogger garnered notoriety after posting a video filmed inside the Kremlin in which he declared, "We will defeat everyone, kill everyone, and rob everyone if necessary." As much as we like it. Activist Darya Trepova, 26, was subsequently arrested and charged with terrorism after the release of a video. It was believed to have been recorded under duress - in which she acknowledged bringing a statuette to the café that subsequently exploded. 

Darya Dugina, the daughter of a close ally of Mr. Putin, was murdered in a suspected car bombing near Moscow in August 2022. It is believed that her father, the ultranationalist Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, also known as "Putin's brain," was the intended target of that attack.