On Saturday, August 18, the Telegram channel Mash reported the deaths of two young people in the town of Zheleznodorozhny, outside Moscow. An 18-year-old male and a 20-year-old female jumped from the roof of a high-rise building. According to Mash, the two were handcuffed to each other.
The young man was Roman Shingarkin, the son of the former State Duma deputy Maxim Shingarkin, who has confirmed his son’s death. Roman was a student at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. Before he killed himself, Roman set his Vkontakte profile picture to an image of Legos forming two figures joining hands above the word “suicide.” In his final post on social media, he wrote that his life had become a “chain of suffering,” and said “it will be better this way.”
Mash reports that Shingarkin’s companion, a woman named Alexandra Solovyova, was a medical student at a college in Pushkino. Her Vkontakte page, registered under a male pseudonym, also features a goodbye letter and the same morbid avatar.
Roman Shingarkin made headlines thanks to his actions at an anti-corruption protest on March 26, 2017, when young people turned out in large numbers at a political rally for the first time in years. Organized by the activist Alexey Navalny, the demonstration didn’t have a permit from Moscow city officials, and police ended up detaining more than a thousand people, four of whom were later convicted of resisting arrest. Shingarkin evaded the police by climbing a street lamp and watching the protest from above. He and another demonstrator were eventually caught and detained. Footage of the incident — a show of civil disobedience from the son of a former federal lawmaker — spread quickly online.
“You couldn’t see anything from below, so I decided to climb the street lamp to get a bit higher. Then I realized it was pretty useful, because it made it less likely that I’d be detained.[The police] were going after the most active [demonstrators], and they’d go right for the closest of them, if they made a run for it. There was no way to get to me,” Shingarkin later recalled.
The authorities have launched a criminal investigation in response to the double suicide. According to the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, Shingarkin had tried to kill himself at least once before. This was apparently Solovyova’s first attempt. Asked about why the young people decided to kill themselves, a source “close to investigators” told Moskovsky Komsomolets that the couple was being forced to separate next month, though it’s unclear why.
The number one cause for suicide is untreated depression. Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable. You can get help from confidential support lines for the suicidal and those in emotional crisis. Visit Befrienders.org to find a suicide-prevention helpline in your country.