(Moscow) Russian Emergency Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, a former member of the security services and bodyguard of President Vladimir Putin, died trying to rescue a person on the sidelines of training in the Arctic, his ministry announced on Wednesday.
Posted on Sep 8, 2021 at 9:56 am
Andréa PALASCIANO Agence France-Presse
The 55-year-old senior official “tragically died while serving in Norilsk (north) as part of an inter-ministerial exercise to protect the Arctic zone while saving a person’s life,” the source told Tass News Agency.
The minister was on the edge of a high cliff with Alexander Melnik, a 63-year-old Russian screenwriter and director who was also killed in the crash.
When the latter slipped and then fell, “Zinichev immediately rushed to save him, but he himself lost his life,” said the deputy minister of the same ministry, Andrei Gourovich, on the Rossïia-24 channel.
“He did not hesitate for a moment to act not as a minister but as a simple man, as a savior he has done a heroic deed,” he added.
According to internal sources quoted by the media RBC and Taiga.info, the accident occurred in the Poutorana nature reserve, about 100 kilometers from Norilsk, famous for its waterfalls and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“President Putin extended his condolences to the relatives of Yevgeny Zinichev after his” tragic death “,” the Kremlin said in a statement, stressing that the Russian leader and Mr. Zinichev are “linked by many years of working together.”
Prime Minister Mikhail Michoustine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert also expressed their condolences.
According to a biography published by Russian authorities, Yevgeny Sinichev had spent most of his career in the various Russian security services since 2018, particularly the one in charge of closely protecting Vladimir Putin.
The deceased had served in the Soviet KGB in the later years of the USSR. In 1991 he joined the Personalities Protection Service (BFS).
From 2006 the strict-looking man served in the security service of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev.
In addition, from 2014 he joined the anti-terrorism department of the powerful Russian Security Service (FSB) as number 2.
From October 2016 until his appointment as head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in May 2018, Yevgeny Zinichev was deputy director of the FSB.
“For many years he was part of the” inner circle “of the Führer (Putin, editor’s note), he accompanied him every day,” said Margarita Simonian, editor-in-chief of professional television, on his Telegram channel – Kremlin RT.
The Emergency Situations Ministry, which has nearly 120,000 members, is responsible for responding to natural and environmental disasters such as the historic floods and fires that devastated Russia this summer.
Sinichev was in Norilsk for large-scale maneuvers with 6,000 people in the Arctic, the ministry said on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday before the tragedy.
“He personally monitored the emergency response training,” the statement said, along with photos of Mr. Zinitchev meeting the teams on the ground and inspecting the premises of a fire station.