Pro-Kremlin Writer And Political Activist Wounded In Car Bombing

The pro-Kremlin writer and political activist Zakhar Prilepin was wounded in a car bombing in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on May 6, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

According to reports, Prilepin’s driver died in the explosion which occurred in the region of Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 kilometers east of Moscow.

Once a left-wing dissident, Prilepin has become one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken supporters on the right and backers of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. It is the third explosion involving prominent pro-Kremlin figures since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In August 2022, a car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of prominent Kremlin-connected far-right ideologue Aleksandr Dugin. Russian authorities alleged that Ukraine was behind the blast.

Last month, an explosion in a cafe in St. Petersburg killed a popular military blogger, Vladlen Tatarsky. Officials once again blamed Ukrainian intelligence agencies for orchestrating it.

TASS quoted Prilepin's spokespeople as saying that he was “OK.” No details were given about the extent of his injuries.

Gleb Nikitin, the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, later said on his Telegram channel that Prilepin had “minor fractures” and that “there is no threat to his health.”

Quoting unnamed sources, Russian news outlet RBC reported that Prilepin was traveling back to Moscow on May 6 from Ukraine’s partially occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions and stopped in the Nizhny Novgorod region for a meal.

Police are investigating the incident, the report said.

Prilepin became a Putin supporter in 2014, after Putin illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. He was involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine on the side of Russia-backed separatists. Last year, he was sanctioned by the European Union for his support of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In 2020, he founded a political party, For the Truth, which Russian media reported was backed by the Kremlin. A year later, Prilepin's party merged with the nationalist A Just Russia party that has seats in the parliament.

A co-chair of the newly formed party, Prilepin won a seat in the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, in the 2021 election, but gave it up.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the United States and NATO were to blame for the alleged car bombing but did not provide any proof to back that claim.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) told Ukrainian media that it cannot confirm or deny involvement in the attack or other incidents inside of Russia.

With reporting by Reuters and AP