(Moscow) Several hundred people, including the leader of the paramilitary group Wagner, gathered in Moscow on Saturday for the funeral of a famous military blogger supporting the attack in Ukraine and recently killed in a bomb attack.
According to AFP journalists on the spot, hundreds of people went to the Troyekurovskoye cemetery in the west of the capital to gather in front of the coffin of Maxime Fomin before his burial.
A large police force was deployed on site with careful control of people going to the cemetery. Many of them wore clothing marked with a Z or a V, signs of their support for the offensive in Ukraine.
Last Sunday, Maxim Fomin, known under the pseudonym of Vladlen Tatarsky, was killed in a bomb attack in a Saint Petersburg cafe belonging to the leader of the paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Moscow has accused Kyiv and “agents” of imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny of being involved in the assassination. Ukraine, for its part, claimed that it was an internal settling of accounts in the circles supporting the offensive in Russia.
“Vladlen Tatarsky will stay with us, his voice will continue to resonate,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said Saturday from the cemetery, as quoted by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
Maxime Fomin was one of the best-known pro-Kremlin military bloggers with over 500,000 subscribers on Telegram. The influence of these activists who publish reports with the Russian army in Ukraine and share their analyzes has increased sharply since the start of the offensive in February 2022.
“I had a lot of friends in common with the deceased”, testifies to AFP Alexei Sobolev, 45, who came to the funeral on Saturday and who presents himself as a volunteer who has fought since 2014 with the pro-Russian separatists of the eastern Ukraine.
Originally from Donbass, Maxime Fomine also joined the troops of the pro-Russian separatists in 2014.
“We are the militiamen of the first wave, there are not very many of us anymore”, notes Mr. Sobolev, assuring that a “war of annihilation” is aimed at Russia but that the Russian army is being “made over again”.