Vladlen Tatarsky, Russian Military Blogger, Is Killed in St. Petersburg Explosion

A popular Russian military blogger who was one of the most influential voices backing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was killed on Sunday when an explosion ripped through a cafe in central St. Petersburg, Russia’s Interior Ministry said.

The blogger, known as Vladlen Tatarsky, was at the Street Food Bar #1 Cafe for an event in Russia’s second-largest city at which he was speaking about his experience as a military reporter, the state news media reported. At least 16 other people were injured, the ministry’s statement said.

Videos from the site posted on social media showed broken glass and furniture strewn around the cafe. It was not immediately clear what set off the explosion.

Since Russia’s invasion, Mr. Tatarsky, 40, whose real name was Maksim Fomin, had emerged as one of the main pro-war voices on the Telegram messaging app, which has been widely used in Russia’s restrictive news media environment to disseminate news, opinion and pro-war propaganda.

He has amassed more than 550,000 followers on the app, publishing daily videos in which he described the situation on the front line, the problems faced by the Russian Army and possible prospects of the war.

Last November when a Russian commander announced that Moscow’s troops would be pulled from the strategically important city of Kherson, Ukraine, Mr. Tatarsky was among Russia’s hawkish military bloggers and commentators who responded with despair, anguish and denial.

Mr. Tatarsky reacted to the news by saying in a post that Russia’s overall plan for war was “idiotic” and “based on disinformation.”

A native of Makiivka near Donetsk in Ukraine, Mr. Tatarsky considered himself Russian. He represented a radical wing of pro-invasion bloggers and activists. He argued that Russia must win the war against Ukraine at all costs and called for the elimination of the Ukrainian state.

“We need to end this state sooner or later,” Mr. Tatarsky said on Saturday in his latest video. “This needs to be our policy.”

He also denounced Russian activists and cultural figures who opposed the war.

Mr. Tatarsky often criticized the way the Russian Army was conducting the war, including the poor coordination among units and the lack of advanced weapons like drones.

In another recent video, he argued that Moscow’s army was deeply flawed and suggested that nothing would change if “you replace the defense minister or chief of the general staff.”

“We need to change the system,” he said.

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