The dramatic images have gone around the world: Darya Trepova walked through a Saint Petersburg street in a cold, grey day, carrying a cardboard box.
She enters a café where a meeting is held, and approaches the speaker and guest of honor, Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky.
Trepova hands him a gift – a box containing a somewhat ugly, gilded wooden statuette supposedly representing Tatarsky, and sits down beside him – but not too close.
Tatarsky’s opening the exploding gift that killed him.
As the blogger picks up the statuette to examine it, the gift explodes, killing him and injuring 52 people. At the moment of explosion the young woman places her hands over hear face in terror.
Trepova subsequently said she had been ‘set up’ by an Ukrainian operative, and that had thought the statuette contained a listening device – not a bomb.
The Ukrainian, whom she knew only as ‘Gestalt’ (German for ‘Shape’), had been sending her money for several months before the cafe bombing.
Darya Trepova was sentenced to 27 years in prison on Thursday (January 25th) for delivering the bomb that killed Tatarsky on the spot.
“Darya Trepova, 26, was convicted by a St Petersburg court of terrorism, handling explosives and using forged documents in connection with the death of blogger Vladlen Tatarsky.
She showed no visible emotion in response to the sentence, which Russian media said was the harshest given to any woman in the country’s modern history. Her defense team said they would appeal.”
In what Russian media said was the harshest sentence given to any woman in the country’s modern history, Darya Trepova was jailed for 27 years for delivering a bomb that exploded in the hands of a pro-war military blogger in 2023 and killed him on the spot https://t.co/SK1nX42OlF pic.twitter.com/lKjYzZrdtM
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 26, 2024
During the trial, Trepova said she thought the purpose of ‘eavesdropping’ on Tatarsky was to find out what he knew about the war, which she opposed.
“‘I feel great pain and shame that my gullibility and my naivety led to such catastrophic consequences. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’, she told the court earlier this week, speaking directly to people who were wounded in the bombing and who have claimed substantial amounts in compensation from her. ‘I feel especial pain and shame that a terrorist act was carried out by my own hands’.”
Trepova’s reaction right as the bomb goes off.
Trepova’s defense argued that she too was a victim, because she sat meters away from Tatarsky, and could herself have been killed or seriously wounded.
But the prosecution argued that she had known about the bomb all along.
New York Post reported:
“She was captured on a now-viral video last April walking up to the blogger in a St. Petersburg café to give him a gilded bust of himself as he gave a talk on the war.
‘Oh, what a handsome guy! Is that me?’ exclaimed Tatarsky, 40, a popular military propagandist born Maxim Fomin.
He persuaded Trepova to stay, and she was seen holding her hands to her face just as the gift exploded, killing Tatarsky on the spot and leaving dozens injured.”
— Paul Serran (@paul_serran) January 26, 2024