An Audi Q7 SUV belonging to Russian pro-war writer Zakhar Prilepin was blown up in Nizhny Novgorod, according to reports from state-owned and state-sponsored media outlets: TASS, RIA Novosti, RBC, Izvestia, as well as Telegram channels, such as Baza. The writer was inside the car at the time of the explosion.
According to a report from state-owned news agency TASS, the writer survived the explosion, and was hospitalized “with wounds to both legs.” The Telegram channel Mash previously reported that Prilepin was in “serious condition,” with both his legs broken as a result of the bombing.
The Kremlin has not yet commented on the car bombing, as it “awaits information from law enforcement agencies.”
“It’s unknown. We need to get information from law enforcement agencies first,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS when asked if the Kremlin considers the attempted assassination of Prilepin a terrorist attack by Kyiv.
According to Mash, the explosion took place about 10.40 a.m. near the town of Bor in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The explosion is presumed to have occurred as a result of an IED being detonated remotely. Prilepin was followed by the IED’s operator, who waited until his daughter left the car before triggering the explosive. The car overturned after the bomb went off.
Russian pro-war channel WarGonzo also claimed that Prilepin had his daughter in the car. The girl managed to get out of the vehicle before the explosion, and was not injured. The channel also claimed that Prilepin's personal security guard – “a friend of the WarGonzo project” with call sign “Zloy” (“Angry”) – died as a result of the explosion. Mash added that the security guard was “a citizen of Ukraine named Alexander.”
Update: The Atesh organization [A military partisan movement in the occupied territories of Ukraine, as well as Russia; Ateş, or Atesh, means “Fire” in Crimean Tatar – The Insider] has claimed responsibility for the attempt on Prilepin's life, but its participants have provided no evidence of their involvement in the bombing. Prilepin's wife, however, told police that he did receive threats, reports Baza. In January, members of the Atesh movement announced that they intended to “eliminate Prilepin.”
An order for Prilepin has been issued! We have sent out over 5,000 text messages to our agents and the Russian military to find and eliminate the famous rashist. Zakhar Prilepin is a former Russian State Duma deputy, chauvinist and hatemonger. Zakhar, we're coming for you, good night :)
Screenshot from the Atesh Telegram channel
Police checkpoints have been set up near Bor in the Nizhny Novgorod region, and law enforcers are checking all passing cars.
In 2014, following the annexation of Crimea, Prilepin announced that he had “rethought” his attitude toward the modern Russian authorities, declaring a “personal truce” and the absence of “the slightest incentive for confrontation” [Prilepin had been a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime prior to the annexation – The Insider]. From 2016 to 2018, Prilepin took part in military action in eastern Ukraine. In February 2022, the European Union imposed personal sanctions against Prilepin, who had earlier signed a letter supporting the Russian invasion. In January 2023, Prilepin signed a contract with Russia’s National Guard Forces Command (“Voyska Natsionalnoy Gvardii”) and went to war in Ukraine.
In 2019, Zakhar Prilepin said the following in an interview with YouTube channel Redaktsiya: “No matter what they say, but I ran a combat unit that killed people. In large numbers. I know this well, and then how do I deal with it? These people are just dead, they're just lying in the ground, they're just murdered. And there are a lot of them. Just no unit from the Donetsk battalion could compare to my battalion in terms of numbers. All that we did…was barefaced lawlessness. It makes me laugh – especially given the attacks and accusations against me.”