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‘Self-execution by firing squad’ After Russian colonel overwhelmed by mobilization duties dies in supposed suicide, his widow asks Putin to oversee investigation
Yulia Boiko, the widow of the deputy head of Russia’s Pacific Higher Naval School, Colonel Vadim Boiko, has written an open letter to Vladimir Putin asking the president to oversee the investigation into her husband’s death, which media outlets have described as a suicide.
The letter is dated November 20, though it didn’t appear in local news reports until November 28. Yulia Boiko confirmed its authenticity to the Telegram channel Baza.
According to Yulia Boiko’s letter, a mobilization station was set up at the military academy where her husband worked on September 16. Colonel Boiko, she wrote, was put in charge of accepting, accommodating, and supervising draftees. She said that from that time on, he stopped sleeping at home almost completely, and that he tried to solve the various problems associated with mobilization, but that he received no support from his superiors. Eventually, the widow wrote, Vadim Boiko realized that his bosses were “trying to place the blame for all of the failures and shortcomings” of the mobilization process on him.
Later, Vadim Boiko was sent to a training site in the village of Sergeyevka in Primorsky Krai, where, according to his widow, he was put in charge of repairing military equipment to be sent to the combat zone, as well as training newly mobilized soldiers. Yulia Boiko claimed her husband ran into difficulties because “it’s not possible to fulfill combat missions with that kind of equipment,” but that the head of the school, Oleg Zhuravlev, didn’t provide any assistance. She wrote that her husband suffered from insomnia for about a month and lost 15 kilograms (about 33 pounds) in that time.
On November 14, says Yulia Boiko, representatives from a commission in Khabarovsk came to the training center to investigate draftees’ complaints. According to the letter, the head of the school, Admiral Zhuravlev, “showed a masterful ability to camouflage” and went to the hospital while her husband was informed that he was facing criminal liability.
“The inspectors had already openly informed Colonel Boiko that he would face more than 100 million rubles (about $1.6 million) in debt for the loss and damage of state property and would be held criminally responsible with confiscation of property,” Yulia Boiko wrote in her letter to Putin.
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She also disclosed some of the circumstances of her husband’s death. According to the widow, Vadik Boiko left the training center and traveled back to the Pacific Higher Naval School in Vladivostok, where he went to his boss’s office. “Yes, he [went] to his [boss’s] office, not to his own, as a lot of social media pages are writing. He sat in his chair and fired five bullets at himself from his service weapon, and he didn’t aim at his head — he didn’t pursue the goal of ending things as soon as possible,” she wrote.
If this tragic death happened at Boiko’s own hand, which the investigation still has yet to determine, then it’s probably the first case of this kind of suicide in Russia — self-execution by firing squad. [If that’s the case,] he clearly wanted to attract the attention of the Russian authorities and signal to them that there’s trouble, that something needs to be done, and that the Motherland is in danger.
Vadim Boiko’s body was found with multiple gunshot wounds on November 16 at the Pacific Higher Naval School. Baza reported that five gunshots were heard that morning in Boiko’s office. The outlet confirmed that five shell casings and four pistols belonging to Makarov were found at the scene of the incident. Russian law enforcement has not commented on Boiko’s death.
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