A 27-year-old Russian rapper took his own life to avoid being drafted to fight in President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine — after tragically declaring he is “not ready to kill for any ideals.”
Ivan Vitalievich Petunin, who performed under the stage name “Walkie,” was found dead on Friday after jumping from a high-rise apartment building in the city of Krasnodar, according to Russian-language news outlet 93.ru, which was translated by The Post.
The rapper’s death has since been confirmed by his girlfriend and his mother, who spoke to a 93.ru reporter, independent Russian media outlet Mediazona reported.
Petunin committed suicide by throwing himself off the 10th floor, local sources told the outlets.
Before the tragic leap, the rapper also filmed himself delivering a heart-wrenching suicide message that was posted to his Telegram channel, local media reported.
“If you are watching this video, then I am no longer alive,” he said in Russian, according to a translated version of the two minute and 16 second clip published by TMZ.
“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. To murder someone in war or otherwise is something I cannot do,” he continued.
“It seems to me that partial mobilization will become full in a few days,” Petunin said, referencing the ramped-up war effort rolled out by strongman Putin, who he later called a “maniac.”
“Forgive me my loved ones but sometimes you have to die for your principals,” the tragic message continued.
“My last decision is exactly how I die,” he continued, looking visibly emotional and breathing deeply.
Walkie had nearly 40,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and his song Нейротоксин, which means “Neurotoxin,” had been streamed nearly two million times. The recording artist had been releasing music since 2013, his Bandcamp page showed.
Petunin had previously served in the Army and been treated in a mental hospital.
In a letter to his girlfriend, Petunin wrote that because of Russia’s sham “referendums” that led to the annexation of four regions of Ukraine last week, “everyone will go to the frontlines.”
He continued: “People with psychosocial ailments ever worse than mine are already being sent there without any hesitation.”
His final act of desperation came as Russian men were fleeing the warring nation in droves or breaking their own arms to avoid being conscripted into military action following Putin’s Sept. 21 address that called for 300,000 reservists to be sent to battle.
Nearly 200,000 Russians had fled to neighboring Georgia, Kazakhstan and Finland since the announcement, risking ten year prison sentences if captured.
The Kremlin had set up makeshift draft offices near border checkpoints to try to intercept the draft dodgers.
The increasingly desperate measures came amid a series of embarrassing tactical losses against overmatched Ukraine forces, as Russia seeks to stamp out its neighbor’s ambition to join NATO and reclaim the former Soviet territory.
The US had estimated in August that some 80,000 Russian troops had been slain in the conflict, which is now in its eighth month.
With AP wires
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.