The murder of self-styled “war correspondent” Vladlen Tatarsky (real name Maxim Fomin) evoked a stormy reaction among Russian propagandists and pro-war channels. In their usual hunt for traitors and accusers, the warmongers quarreled among themselves and accused the security services of incompetence.
RT head Margarita Simonyan asked: “Well, what now? [Should we] Forget? Forgive?.” She was answered by Russian propagandist Andrei Medvedev, who claimed that “the people won't forget and won't forgive” – something which can’t be said about the “people in charge.” Medvedev went on to criticize Russia’s law enforcement agencies and their leadership, which, in his view, have not been active enough in repressing the country’s population.
For example, the former “LPR” fighter and current author of the Telegram channel Moscow Calling Andrei Kurshin should be “taken care of,” according to Medvedev, due to his criticism of the army and the authorities.
“We have bloggers who write about how ugly our army and our country are on a daily basis. One such citizen blogger has state secret clearance, by the way. And? No big deal. Nothing, he's got [nothing] to worry about,” the propagandist wrote. Pro-war channel Povernutiye na Z-voyne (“Z-war obsessed”) also blamed the security forces and Kurshin for the explosion in St. Petersburg.
“Just so you understand who Andrei Kurshin is. He’s the author of the Telegram channel cited in the screenshots, who lives in Moscow. He constantly accuses the Russian army of war crimes on his channel, calls for the overthrow of the government and so on. [...] Our law enforcement agencies do not care at all about the activities of this citizen. With such a negligent attitude of the police and the FSB to their direct responsibilities, it’s no wonder that Ukraine’s HUR [military intelligence service – The Insider] easily organizes terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg.”
Russian pro-war channels also criticized Moscow-based blogger Andrei Morozov, who authors the Fighting Cat Murz (“Boitsovy Kot Murz”) blog on LiveJournal. Morozov has served in the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic militia” (14th Territorial Defense Battalion “Prizrak” (“Ghost”)) since 2014, where he maintains drones and communications systems.
The blogger wrote that he regretted the death of Vladlen Tatarsky, as he wanted to “firmly shake his throat” [strangle him – The Insider] for his words about the destruction of Morozov's battalion due to the lack of battlefield communications. Morozov added that Tatarsky’s claim was a lie and the battalion did have comms, calling Tatarsky a “media prostitute” who says what the “buyer” wants. According to Morozov, Tatarsky was last “bought” by the Wagner PMC.
“Tatarsky was not 'on our side,' he was on his [own] side, he was a common mercenary, a de facto media prostitute. Had to for his career - fraternized with the ukrops [derogatory Russian slang term used to refer to Ukrainians – The Insider] on TV, while there was a fierce ‘truce’ going on here, if he thought it would help his career, he’d yell: ‘Ukrops are f*ggots!’ If he had to (somewhat earlier, during the period of his “ascent to glory”), he’d be the «favorite wife» of the media of LPR’s 2nd Army Corps, telling them how great everything was. Hired by private companies, he began to tell them how everything in the People's Militia sucks, so go and freelance, you know.”
In response, Morozov received threats from the pro-war channel Starshe Eddy, which called the blogger a “fat dumb prostitute with a tail” and promised to “make him pay.” The post was later deleted.
Another post appeared in its place, with accusations against “anti-war activists” and, again, Andrei Kurshin.
“As Max Fomin's [Vladlen Tatarsky’s real name was Maxim Fomin – The Insider] murder shows, all 'anti-war activists' are potential weapons of the enemy. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that after Max's death something will seriously change and [whether] the fight to destroy the inner khokhol [derogatory Russian term for Ukrainians – The Insider] will begin. The f*ggot, women stalker and plain old scumbag Kurshin will continue to his nasty little channel, and the pro-khokhol covens [witch gatherings – The Insider] in fancy Moscow pubs will continue to collect donations for the AFU.”
The post was mocked by historian Alexander Shtefanov, who quoted it on his Telegram channel with the question “these covens, are they in the same room with you now?” In response, Stefanov began to receive death threats, along with Kurshin and blogger Igor Dimitriev.
The propagandists also managed to find an external enemy. According to a number of pro-war channels and RT head Margarita Simonyan, in addition to Ukraine’s special services, liberals, Navalny supporters, feminists and Sergei Smirnov, editor-in-chief of independent media outlet Mediazona, are to blame for the explosion. Propagandist Anton Krasovsky suggested that Sergei Smirnov be murdered for his commentary on Vladlen Tatarsky’s murder. Some of Krasovsky’s other recent suggestions include the drowning of opposition activists in St. Petersburg’s Moika River, and the drowning and burning of Ukrainian children.
Simonyan also published several photos of Daria Trepova, the main suspect in the murder, calling on her followers to find “semi-pornographic poses” in the images, which are supposedly unacceptable for feminists. Following Simonyan’s post, several Z-channels began blaming feminists for the explosion as well.
Publicist and outspoken Russian nationalist Egor Kholmogorov suggested that the moratorium on the death penalty be abolished, and a death list be created for “pro-Ukrainian activists,” while Henry Sardaryan, dean of the Moscow State Institute for International Relations and Russia’s representative to the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration, called for the elimination of “traitors.”