A rapper from Russia is believed to have taken his own life after he refused to be drawn into fighting in President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
Walkie, whose real name was Ivan Vitalievich Petunin, told fans in a Telegram video that he couldn’t “take the sin of murder on my soul” and that his final protest would be expressed by his death. According to the Daily Mail, Petunin’s body was found in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Friday (September 30).
The 27-year-old rapper was one of 300,000 extra Russian citizens whom Putin had drafted for his continued war against Ukraine. Walkie previously served in the Russian army and, as the Mail reports, hated his previous experience so much that he tried to avoid re-enlistment on medical grounds, highlighting that he had been treated in a psychiatric hospital.
In the Telegram video, which has since been shared on Twitter, Petunin said: “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 continued: “I choose to remain in history forever. As a man who did not support what was happening. I am not ready to take up arms and kill my own kind.”
Walkie was a prolific rapper. He released 10 albums since his 2015 debut with his most recent, ‘Walk Out Boy 3’, shared earlier this year.
His most popular song on Spotify has more than one million streams, and he has more than 239,000 monthly listeners on the platform overall.
In a statement shared on social media, Waters pointed out that he was spurred to write Putin after seeing comments on his letters to Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska, asking why he had only addressed one side of the conflict.
The former Pink Floyd bassist has claimed that in the months since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, he has “tried to use [his] small influence to encourage a ceasefire and a diplomatic settlement that addresses the security needs of both Ukraine and The Russian Federation”.
Addressing Putin directly, Waters asked: “Would you like to see an end to this war? If you were to reply and say, ‘Yes please.’ That would immediately make things a lot easier.
“If you were to come out and say, ‘Also the Russian Federation has no further territorial interest beyond the security of the Russian speaking populations of The Crimea, Donetsk and Lubansk [sic].’ That would help too.”
For help and advice on mental health:
- Help Musicians UK – Around the clock mental health support and advice for musicians (CALL MUSIC MINDS MATTER ON: 0808 802 8008)
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
- Music Support Org – Help and support for musicians struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental health issues (CALL: 0800 030 6789)
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day