Putin ally Alexander Dugin has said his daughter told him she felt “like a warrior” and a “hero” before she died in a car bombing Russia has blamed on Ukraine.
Darya Dugina, 29, attended a festival on Saturday night before a remotely-controlled explosive device planted in her 4×4 blew up as she was driving on the outskirts of Moscow.
The car burst into flames and video of the scene shows Mr Dugin with his hands clutching his head in horror.
The writer and philosopher is credited with being the architect or “spiritual guide” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is sometimes referred to as “Putin’s brain”.
He is widely believed to be the intended target of the bombing which Moscow has blamed on Ukrainian special services.
Ukraine war live updates: US warning over Russian attacks in coming days
Russian media quoted witnesses as saying that the 4×4 belonged to Mr Dugin and that he had decided at the last minute to travel in another vehicle.
Speaking at a farewell ceremony for his daughter in Moscow on Tuesday, Mr Dugin said: “She had no fear. The last words she said during our conversation at the Tradition festival were ‘father, I feel like a warrior, I feel like a hero. I want to be one, I don’t want any different fate.
“‘Want to be with my people, with my country’. “
Mr Dugin also said his daughter “died for the people, died for Russia”.
His voice was breaking as he continued: “The huge price we have to pay can only be justified by the highest achievement, our victory.
“She lived for the sake of victory, and she died for the sake of victory. Our Russian victory, our truth, our Orthodox faith, our state.”
Who was Darya Dugina, assassinated daughter of Putin ally?
He made the remarks as hundreds of people attended the ceremony for Ms Dugina, who was a commentator on a nationalist Russian TV channel, at the Ostankino television centre in Moscow.
Mr Dugin had earlier urged the Kremlin to step up its operations in Ukraine following his daughter’s death.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a letter of condolences to Mr Dugin and his wife on Monday, denouncing the “cruel and treacherous killing” and saying that Ms Dugina “honestly served people and the Fatherland, proving what it means to be a patriot of Russia with her deeds”.
He posthumously awarded Ms Dugina the Order of Courage, one of Russia’s highest medals.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, has reaffirmed the country’s denial it was involved in the bombing.
He said late on Monday that “our special services have no relation to that”.
The FSB charged that a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the killing after arriving in Russia in July with her 12-year-old daughter and renting an apartment in the building where Ms Dugina lived in order to shadow her.
Russia claims Ms Vovk and her daughter were at a nationalist festival that Mr Dugin and his daughter attended just before the killing.
The agency said that Ms Vovk drove to Estonia after the killing, using a different licence plate for her vehicle.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu dismissed the Russian claim, saying in televised remarks that “we regard this as one instance of provocation in a very long line of provocations by the Russian Federation, and we have nothing more to say about it at the moment”.
Russia claims Ukrainian female assassin behind car bomb that killed Putin ally’s daughter
Cages put up in Mariupol concert hall for ‘show trial’ of prisoners of war condemned by UN
Russia planning fresh attacks on civilian infrastructure ahead of independence day, US warns
The car bombing triggered calls from Russian nationalists to respond by ramping up strikes on Ukraine.
Mr Dugin has been a prominent proponent of the “Russian world” concept, a spiritual and political ideology that emphasises traditional values, the restoration of Russia’s global influence and the unity of all ethnic Russians throughout the world.
He helped popularise the “Novorossiya,” or “New Russia” concept that Russia used to justify the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.