Russian woman Darya Trepova has been sentenced to 27 years in jail for the killing of pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky last April.
Tatarsky was killed by a bomb in a statuette Trepova gave him, as he was about to give a talk in St Petersburg. Dozens were injured in the blast.
Trepova, 26, denied the charges, saying she thought the statuette contained a listening device.
She said she had acted on the orders of a Ukrainian contact, and was set up.
The sentence is one of the harshest imposed on a woman in Russia’s history.
The attack on Tatarsky, 40, (real name Maxim Fomin) happened on 2 April, 2023.
Trepova was charged with “a terrorist act carried out by an organised group causing intentional death” and the “illegal possession of explosive devices by an organised group”.
Russian investigators have accused Ukraine of being behind the attack, and Ukrainian officials have neither confirmed nor denied this.
But Trepova gave evidence in court that she was following orders from a man in Ukraine known as Gestalt (German for “shape”). His identity is not known.
She said she made contact with him via Ukraine-based journalist Roman Popkov. She is opposed to Russia’s war in Ukraine and had been seeking to go there to work as a journalist.
Trepova said that under Gestalt’s instruction she gained Tatarsky’s trust, introducing herself to him as an art student named Anastasia Kriulina and attending his talks.
In March Gestalt sent her the statuette, she said, assuring her that it contained a wiretap and a tracker. She said she expressed concern that it might contain a bomb.
“I feel great pain and shame that my gullibility and my naivety led to such catastrophic consequences. I didn’t want to hurt anyone,” Trepova told the court this week, quoted by Reuters.
“I feel especial pain and shame that a terrorist act was carried out by my own hands.”
Tatarsky was a well-known blogger with more than half a million followers, and had a criminal past.
Born in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, he said he joined Russian-backed separatists when they released him from jail, where he was serving time for armed robbery.
He was part of a pro-Kremlin military blogger community that has taken on a relatively high-profile role since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
Tatarsky was among those who have gone so far as to criticise the Russian authorities, slamming the military and even President Vladimir Putin for setbacks on the battlefield.
But he was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage by Mr Putin.
Trepova’s sentencing comes just after another controversial pro-war figure, the former commander of Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine Igor Girkin, was sentenced to four years in jail for “calls to carry out extremist activities”.