Almost a decade after he was exiled, a former Russian statesman has emerged from the shadows this week as a new thorn in the side of the Kremlin.
In a shocking televised address from Kyiv last week, 47-year-old ex-politician Ilya Ponomarev debuted as a self-described messenger for what he says is an underground resistance movement operating in Russia, the National Republican Army. Ponomarev read the group’s so-called manifesto on a Kyiv-based TV channel he founded seven months ago, called February Morning, in which they claimed responsibility for the car bomb that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of Russian nationalist and staunch Putin ally Alexander Dugin.
“The activists chose a sacred figure of Russian fascism and that’s not up to me to criticize the target of their deed, ” Ponomarev said in an interview with The Daily Beast, claiming that he’s been in contact with the “resistance fighters” since April. Besides passing their messages along, Ponomarev said his “job is to provide commercial support” to the group as needed.