The chain of events leading to the Moscow assassination last Saturday, as presented by Russia's security service, read like a Hollywood spy thriller with Natalia Vovk, 43, changing her appearance and vehicle number plates to hoodwink guards, media reports said.
Ukrainian woman spy Natalia Vovk assassinated the daughter of a leading Russian nationalist and former Putin ally, Moscow security officials claimed, Daily Mail reported.
Vovk apparently sneaked into Russia from Ukraine - bringing her 12-year-old daughter with her - and tracked her victim before activating the deadly device on Saturday night.
However, most international observers remain convinced the assassination was actually carried out by Russian agents who wanted to silence the victim's father, political scientist Alexander Dugin, 60, Daily Mail reported.
Analyst Yekaterina Shulman said the outpouring of anger among pro-Kremlin commentators in response to the car bomb attack that killed Darya Dugina appears suspicious.
"The reaction was immediate. It looks as if they were waiting for something like this to happen," Shulman said.
Whoever was responsible, added Shulman, the killing "could possibly be used to ramp up some public outrage in the country to justify even more active repressive actions by the state".
Dugin, a bearded Rasputin-esque figure, is said to have been the target for the bombing. He had decided to drive home in a different car at the last minute.
According to the FSB's case file, Vovk entered Russia driving a Mini Cooper, accompanied by her daughter, after apparently convincing officials they were refugees from the Donetsk People's Republic, an occupied area of eastern Ukraine.
Video footage appeared to show her opening the car's bonnet under the eye of immigration officials who then waved her through a checkpoint. In these images, supposedly recorded on July 23, Vovk was seen with blonde hair, Daily Mail reported.
Footage gathered after that date showed her with chestnut brown hair - suggesting she used dye or wigs to avoid detection.
The FSB claimed Vovk rented an apartment in Darya's block and secretly followed her around Moscow for several days. In a bid to back this up with evidence, Russian officials shared footage supposedly recorded by a security camera inside a plush Moscow residential building showing Vovk. The service also released what it claimed was her Ukrainian military documents, including a passport-style photo of her.
On Saturday, Vovk apparently attended the same poetry festival as Darya and her father. A journalist and vocal supporter of the invasion of Ukraine, Darya left the event in a Toyota Land Cruiser. The car bomb went off an hour later. According to Russian officials the 800 gm device had been attached directly beneath the driver's seat, Daily Mail reported.
(With inputs from IANS)