Although a Ukraine splinter group, such as Azov, cannot be ruled out, the weight is on domestic Russian perpetration.
With political philosopher Alexander Dugin the intended target, this was a philosophical capitation strike. Most governments provide the member participants with enough political experience to realize that decapitation seldom provides the desired result. Most assassinations are the products of twisted logic that can be sustained only in isolation, by terror groups, or actual insurgencies. The ample U.S. assassination history has only one, JFK, that conceivably might have been the work of more than an individual.
The attempts on Fidel Castro are a big exception, enabled by the perception that failure had no risk. We continue with the note that the risk for Ukraine, even if they are not responsible, is severe, as it may enable further Russian mobilization.
For a decapitation to work to the benefit of those responsible, a clockwork logic must be imagined. Let’s start with imagined reasoning for Ukraine culpability:
- With the principal advocate of destroying Ukraine removed, the entire ultra-nationalist argument springs a leak, losing all persuasive power.
- The right-wing Russian military lose all enthusiasm for their self-created war.
- If Dugin were still alive (as he actually is), he writes another book, makes a few speeches, and pumps the ultras up again. Since he isn’t available, the Russian army goes home.
This clockwork has three non-realistic, irrational gears that must engage. It is not a believable brainchild of a Western-oriented civil government. Such twisted logic can survive only in the mind of the lone wolf, or a small extremist organization. Even Azov is a little large for this, and it has mellowed out in the past few years. The negative outcome, which has only one gear, is pretext for general Russian mobilization. Russian propagandists are already working this angle.
In contrast, the logic for assassination available to a Russian insurgency is strong and simple:
- Putin is ill. While his projected lifespan is not available to open source, increasing frailty limits his tenure. See Medical Arguments with CIA Bill Burns (Putin) & CNN (NY Polio).
- There will be a power struggle between rationalists and ultra-nationalists.
- As the premier wordsmith of the ultra-nationalists, Dugin has the potential to rally emotions to a degree that worries the rationalists.
- So removal of Dugin is preparatory to a Kremlin power struggle.
The quality of the second argument in comparison to the first is evident. The rationalists may have a hand in some other recent actions within Russia. They need only their new name:
As always, slick reasoning can be undone by facts.