One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former bodyguards, who later became a top government official, sacrificed his own life in the attempt at saving a visiting VIP film director. Yevgeny N. Zinichev, the minister of emergency situations, was on the job as he died in an emergency situation.
Official didn’t hesitate
Before Yevgeny N. Zinichev became a top Russian official as minister of emergency situations, he served on Vladimir Putin’s security detail. He met his tragic end while escorting a prominent film director into the frigid north of the Siberian Arctic.
Aleksandr Melnik was in the process of scouting locations for a documentary at “the Kitabo Oron waterfall in the Putorana nature reserve in northern Siberia,” which is around 100 miles west of Norilsk. Melnik didn’t make it either.
On Wednesday, September 8, the two men were observing “a multicity drill involving 6,000 people.” from the edge of a cliff. “The cameraman slipped and fell into the water,” He slipped on wet rock, Margarita Simonyan reports for RT.
Zinichev didn’t think twice before diving right off the cliff to save the director. The official “rushed after the fallen man and died after hitting a protruding rock.”
Russia’s official statement confirms that the minister “was tragically killed while on duty, while taking part in interagency exercises designed to protect the Arctic zone from emergencies, as he tried to save a person’s life.”
As noted by his second in command, Andrei Gurovich, he “did not hesitate for a second, not as a minister, but as a rescuer, having committed a heroic act. He lived like that all his life.”
Minister of emergencies
Serving his official role as minister of emergencies with zeal, “Zinichev worked to manage Russia’s natural and man-made disaster response, including the Siberian forest fires.” He began his career with the KGB in 1987 and “later became part of Putin’s security detail.”
By 2014 Zinichev had risen through the ranks to become “deputy head of the counterterrorism service of the country’s domestic intelligence agency, commonly referred to as F.S.B.”
In 2018, Zinichev became a full fledged government official when he was appointed as emergency minister to serve on Russia’s Security Council.
They say this is the “first-ever” death of a sitting minister in Russia. The exercises they had been observing were part of Putin’s desire to “prepare for crisis situations in the Arctic.”
As soon as Putin heard the official had perished tragically, he quickly “expressed his condolences from the Siberian taiga, where he was spending a few days.” The deceased film maker was “best known for ‘Terra Nova,’ a 2008 movie about a group of prisoners taken to an island.”
His film “Territory,” released in 2015, is “based on an Arctic adventure novel inspired by real events.” The film “tells the story of the discovery of gold reserves in northeastern Russia.” Coincidentally, parts “of the film were shot in the Putorana reserve where he died.”