A Russian rapper is believed to have committed suicide to avoid being conscripted into President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
According to the Daily Mail, the body of Ivan Vitalievich Petunin, who performed under the stage name Walkie, was found near a high-rise building in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Friday, September 30th. In a video posted to his Telegram channel (via TMZ), the 27-year-old artist expressed his opposition to the Ukraine invasion and said he was “not ready to kill for any ideals.”
“If you are watching this video, then I am no longer alive,” Petunin said. “I can’t take the sin of murder on my soul and I don’t want to. I am not ready to kill for any ideals.”
In the clip, Petunin continued by speculating that Putin’s partial mobilization of the military reserve would soon become a full draft. “I choose to remain in history forever,” he said. “As a man who did not support what was happening, I am not ready to take up arms and kill my own kind.”
Petunin had reportedly served in the Russian army in the past and spent time in a mental hospital. He allegedly tried to get a deferment this time around by citing mental illness.
The rapper had just put out his most recent album, Walk Out Boy 3, on Friday.
Putin declared the aforementioned partial mobilization on September 21st, saying in an address that Russian citizens currently in the reserves and those with “certain military specialties and relevant experience” would be subject to conscription. However, a chaotic rollout has led to men who did not fit the criteria being called into duty.
Nearly 200,000 Russians have fled to neighboring countries since Putin made the announcement. Videos have also circulated on social media of men deliberately breaking their limbs to avoid being drafted, as well as another in which a man set himself on fire in protest.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.