With Russia turning up the nuclear weapons rhetoric on the backdrop of their invasion of Ukraine, it has now been revealed that the carrier of Putin’s nuclear briefcase has been shot dead in his home in Krasnogorsk, Moscow.
Retired Colonel and Former Head of the Department of the Central Customs Administration Vadim Zimin, a top Russian official, has been rushed to the hospital, where he receives intensive care. He is currently in critical condition because of the gunshot. Vadim Zimin was primarily responsible for carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear briefcase (also known as the “Cheget” in Russia).
Zimin, 53, had been serving with the Federal Security Service for years until he left for the Russian customs service. He first carried the briefcase containing Putin’s nuclear launch codes during former Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s administration. He would keep this role till Vladimir Putin came into power in 2000.
As of writing, SOFREP cannot obtain additional details of his death because of heavy Russian censorship. However, it is known that he was shot on June 20. The retired Russian colonel was discovered lying on his kitchen floor with a bullet in his head. Blood covered the kitchen floor, where his brother found him near death. The Russian nuclear briefcase containing Boris Yeltsin’s launch codes.
This briefcase is known as the Cheget in Russia (Stanislav Kozlovskiy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons).
There were reports that the colonel faced several legal issues with the Russian government. First, he was accused of taking bribes after joining as the head of the Russian customs service from a business person and getting a 10% commission out of each transaction. As a result, he was fired from his post and was put on house arrest for an unspecified time.
Although Zimin denied the accusations, Kremlin media said he tried to commit suicide as a result. Russian media outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets reported that Zimin and his brother drank before the shooting. This is supported by the fact that an IZH 79-9TM pistol was lying nearby his body after the shooting.
The Kremlin is known to be unforgiving. With all the legal issues he faced, he could have made enemies(andi rivals) throughout his years with the FSB and the customs service. His suspected assassination also comes in perfect timing for the attacker since his wife was away in Ukraine, where she is currently working as a military medic.
She must have her hands tied as several reports throughout the months have indicated that the Russian forces are losing so many men to the war. Current losses stand at 34,430 soldiers as per Ukrainian estimates.
While this theory is plausible, there is no direct evidence to support this theory, so the suicide theory is the most believable one for now.
An eerily similar instance to Zimin’s alleged suicide attempt was that of ex-KB General Lev Sotskov’s death. On June 15, the Russian Major-General was found dead in his apartment after apparently shooting himself in the head.
The 90-year-old general was found by his wife in their bathroom with a suicide note. Police ruled the incident a suicide after a Tokarev TT-30 was discovered in their home. The Russian general reportedly received it as a gift from the Mongolian Secret Service. However, his death seems plausible that it was a suicide as he often said he was “tired of living” as to his relatives.
It is possible that his own superiors gave him the choice of committing suicide rather than facing a trial and imprisonment. This is Russia after all.
Recently, SOFREP Editor In chief Sean Spoonts paired up with Newsweek’s Jon Jackson to write about the procedures, and protocols Russia would follow in using its nuclear weapons, including information on its own nuclear football, called the “Cheget.” You can read that here.
SOFREP on 24 June 2022