Russian man who opened fire in draft office writes open letter: ‘I firmly believed until the last moment that I would not harm anyone’

Ruslan Zinin, a Russian citizen from the town of Ust-Ilimsk, Irkutsk region, who opened fire in a local draft office and injured military commissar Alexander Eliseev, has written an open letter, in which he talks about his motives. Relatives of Zinin have shared the letter with media outlet Tayga.Info and Telegram channel ASTRA.

Screenshot: ASTRA

Screenshot: ASTRA

Zinin confirms to have gone to the enlistment office after his brother had received a draft notice.

“On that day [26 September], I was going to the draft office certain that it was in my powers to make sure my little brother didn’t get mobilised under a draft notice [that stated he’d need to come in] on the same day. I also firmly believed until the last moment that I would not harm anyone. I have been categorically against violence since I was little, everyone who knows me well is aware of this, they can confirm [my stance],” the letter says.

He also describes his feelings on the death of his friend in the war in Ukraine.

“I have nightmares to this day that [started] after I saw a post-mortem photo of my school mate, a 18-year old boy, conscript soldier; he was conscripted (for one year of compulsory military service — translator’s note) in November 2021 and was killed in March 2022, during the first days of the special military operation. After having imagined that I’d have to, God forbid, see my loved one [on a picture like that], I realised that I wouldn’t be able to go on living, knowing that I hadn’t done something to not let that happen,” Zinin writes.

The man also apologises to the injured military commissar and says that he was not tortured by law enforcement agents. “I sincerely empathise with anyone who went through [torture at the hands of law enforcement agents] and strongly condemn such cases,” he adds.

Zinin’s mother confirms the authenticity of the letter. “At 3:30 PM on 22 November, there will be a hearing on the extension of restrictive measures [imposed on] my son in an Irkutsk court. It’s unclear whether the hearing will be a public or a private one, but if someone will come to support him, he will be happy,” she says.

On 26 September, 25-year old Ruslan Zinin opened fire in a local draft office in the town of Ust-Ilimsk. Following the shooting, military commissar Alexander Eliseev, responsible for the local mobilisation, was hospitalised in “critical condition”.

Zinin was arrested on charges of attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer and illegal acquisition and possession of weapons.

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