Vladlen Tatarsky: From failed bank robber to famed war correspondent
Vladlen Tatarsky was assassinated in St. Petersburg on Sunday, his career is the remarkable result of luck and persistence.
Journalist Vladlen Tatarsky was brutally assassinated on Sunday in a cafe located in St. Petersburg, Russia. Investigations by the Russian authorities are ongoing as they try to uncover the culprit. We know that Tatarsky was a war correspondent and an ex-fighter military man in the Donbas region. Let us take a deeper look at Tatarky's upbringing and career.
Vladen Tatarsky’s actual name was Maxim Yurevich Fomin. He took the pseudonym “Vladlen Tararsky in honor of Vavilen Tatarsky who was the hero in Viktor Pelevin’s novel “Generation P”.
Fomin was born on 25 April 1982 in the city of Makeevka, which is known for its metallurgical industry and coal mines. He was born into a family of coal miners, and after graduating high school he briefly followed the family’s career of choice before deciding to put his money into a furniture company. However, Fomin was not able to sustain his business and eventually closed down all his stores.
Daria Trepova, suspected in the murder of Vladlen Tatarsky, was not detained , - Baza— Spriter (@Spriter99880) April 2, 2023
Currently, the security forces are looking for the suspect and her husband, Dmitry Rylov.
Earlier, Interfax reported about the detention. pic.twitter.com/3sBMRTa7RD
The life of the late Fomin took an interesting turn in late 2011 when he decided to rob a commercial bank alongside his debt-laden friends. Local authorities were quick to arrest the group and Fomin was sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence, exiled, and sent to a penal colony in the northeastern Donetsk region in the city of Gorlovka.
In the Summer of 2014, Fomin was in luck, as the Ukrainian forces launched an offensive on the Donbass region in an attempt to crush the armed pro-independence rebellion of the locals. Clashes in the area, which have been going on since the spring of that year, had finally reached the prison which held Fomin and his fellow inmates. Several inmates were caught up in the crossfire but Fomin was able to escape the chaos. Soon after, he joined up with the pro-independence fighters.
His crimes were discovered by the militiamen in 2014 but he received a pardon from the late DPR leader in the same year in recognition of his military service.
Fomin fought alongside his compatriots from late 2014 to 2019, serving in the Vityaz Regiment, the LPR’s Fourth Brigade, and the Vostok Battalion.
The journalist retired from military service in 2019 and paired his expertise in operating military-grade drones with his years of service on the frontline to become a remarkable war correspondent. Fomin’s special coverage of the war in Ukraine was evident in the global following he amassed.
Since his career in war journalism took off, Fomin was able to attract 563,000 subscribers on Telegram who followed frontline coverage of the war.
He was also notorious for his “no-holds-barred” critical coverage, as he was not shy to bring up the issues that the Russian forces face in Ukraine.
Fomin’s death comes after the assassination of Alexander Dugin’s daughter Darya Dugina in August 2022, allegedly by the Ukrainian special services.
The spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, pointed out that pro-Russian journalists and thinkers are constantly threatened by Ukraine in an attempt to silence them.
Commenting on the incident, Zakharova said, “They are subjected to harassment, branded in the literal sense with special markings on digital platforms on American internet companies, and face a ‘witch hunt’ in the Western media… Not a single case of the violent death of a Russian journalist, assessed by the Kiev regime and its thugs as a ‘success’ has been investigated, or even treated with elementary human sympathy by Western countries, international organizations or foreign professional communities.”
People carry flowers and light candles near the place of death of military commander Vladlen Tatarsky pic.twitter.com/fCyVahJCC8— Spriter (@Spriter99880) April 2, 2023
Boris Rozhin, a military expert at the Center for Military-Political Journalism, recognized Fomin’s contributions to the coverage of the Ukrainian conflict.
“The war correspondent made "a very big contribution" to Russian military journalism," he added that Fomin’s popularity was well-deserved, pointing to his “reports, especially from Mariupol" - the Donetsk People's Republic city which experienced fierce guerilla warfare in 2022. Fomin took part in the delivery of humanitarian aid and Rohzin hailed his efforts saying, "He did not sit in the rear; he carried out his work to the end. We will all miss him,"