Search icon


01st Oct 2022

Russian rapper, 27, takes his own life to avoid having to fight in Ukraine

Steve Hopkins

The rapper, who went by the name Walkie, said ‘I can’t take the sin of murder on my soul’

A Russian rapper has reportedly taken his own life to avoid being forced to fight Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The death of Ivan Vitalievich Petunin, who went by the stage name Walkie, comes amid an exodus sparked by Putin’s partial mobilisation – as thousands of Russian men, women and children flee across the border to neighbouring countries including Georgia.

Ivan is believed to have died in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on Friday.

His body was found near a high-rise building on Congressnaya Street after the 27-year-old musician recorded a video message published on his Telegram channel, which has since been circulated on Twitter.

In the video, Ivan explained that he did not want to kill for any ideals.

Ivan, who had previously served in the Russian Army, told his followers: “If you are watching this video, then I am no longer alive.

“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.”

He also appeared to fear that Putin’s partial mobilisation could soon turn into a military draft, amid claims that Moscow is planning to call up 1million men to salvage their failing invasion that is now more than six months old.

More than 194,000 Russian citizens have fled to neighbouring Georgia – which was invaded by Russia in 2008 – Kazakhstan and Finland since Putin announced a partial mobilisation of reservists to bolster his troops in Ukraine. In more drastic cases, Russian men have resorted to breaking limbs to avoid being called-up.

On Saturday, Russia’s defence ministry confirmed it had withdrawn Russian troops from the strategic town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine, the BBC reported.

“Because of the threat of encirclement the allied troops have been withdrawn from Krasnyi Lyman to better positions,” the broadcaster reported, quoting Russian state news agencies.

Related links: