The widow of a colonel found dead at one of the Russian navy’s top colleges earlier this month has written directly to Vladimir Putin to tell him her husband killed himself over problems plaguing the mobilization effort.
Vadim Boiko, tasked with working with troops recently called up under Putin’s “partial mobilization order” for the war against Ukraine, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds after showing up for work at the Makarov Pacific Higher Naval School in Vladivostok earlier this month.
His wife, Yulia, now says in an open letter to the Russian president that her husband resorted to a “self-execution” because he was fed up with mobilization efforts and the ensuing fallout.
He wanted “to signal to you that there is a disaster happening, that something must be done, that the motherland is in danger,” she wrote, according to a copy of the letter shared in its entirety by local media outlet News Vladivostok.
After being given impossible tasks and then threatened with criminal prosecution for being unable to fulfill them, she says, her husband became the fall guy for military leadership.
“They were preparing him for future tribunals, since as we know from practice, the guilty party isn’t usually held accountable for crimes committed, for that they use specially prepared people, just like my husband,” she wrote.
After being tasked with preparing equipment and new draftees for the war effort, she wrote, Boiko “ran into big problems,” the first among them being that the equipment he was tasked with preparing was “unfit” for military service. The shoddy equipment resulted in complaints from draftees, and despite Boiko “screaming” about the problems to his direct supervisor, nothing was done and the supervisor instead took time off work and “dumped all” responsibility on Boiko, she wrote.
“You would agree that if military equipment that has been used for many years as a museum exhibit is now being handed to [him] to be sent to the frontline, he can’t with the sweep of one hand fix the mistakes made by someone else …” she wrote.
It was after Boiko was threatened by superiors with criminal liability for the faulty military equipment that he took his own life, she said.
But she stressed that there was a deeper meaning behind his suicide, noting that he could have shot himself anywhere, at any time—but instead did so in his supervisor’s office, the same one who ignored his repeated appeals for extra help.
“He sits in the chair and fires five shots from his service weapon, but on top of that not aiming for his head, not trying to end it as quickly as possible,” she wrote, describing his death as a “self-execution” meant to set off alarm bells for Russian leaders.
“Don't let my husband's death go unnoticed, for all of this to be in vain,” she wrote, calling on Putin to put an end to “the disgrace that is happening among servicemembers in the Far East.”
The Kremlin has not yet commented on the letter.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.