A Russian man has accidentally killed himself after unpinning a grenade for a selfie. Alexander Chechik, 26, died in his car near the city of Krasnodar on the Black Sea in the south of the country.
Police explained that Chechik sent images of himself with the grenade, with the pin taken out, to friends with no apparent wish to commit suicide. An image was later released by the police that showed the scene in his car after the explosive detonated and killed the young man.
Chechnik sent a photo of the grenade to friends, prompting them to reply with panicked messages.
A friend had earlier texted: “Where are you? Are you ok?”, to which he responded: “Depends on what ok is in your understanding?” He then sent an image of the grenade, to which the friend replied “Listen, don’t do stupid things. Where are you?”
It is reported that the police think that Alexander – known as Sasha – thought that the grenade would not explode unless he threw it. The number of photographs that he sent to other friends without any obvious intentions to kill himself suggests that he was showing off rather than attempting seriously to end his own life.
Russia suffers from a horrendous male suicide rate, regularly close to the highest in the world. The whole post-Soviet bloc is affected by the problem, with Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Latvia all well ahead of Western Europe in terms of deaths, a problem that is attributed to a combination of poor mental health provisions and rampant alcoholism.
It has declined in Russia in recent years but is still around triple the rate of that of the United Kingdom.
The Russian Investigative Committee is looking into the incident, according to Natalia Smyatskaya, a spokeswoman. Mr Chechik was a resident of the town of Labinsk, around 100 miles from Krasnodar and close to the border with Georgia.
Grenades are small bombs that require the pulling of a pin to be detonated. Typically they are hurled in the direction of an enemy, unpinned, with the intention of causing casualties via fragmentation. As such they are distinctively shaped, with military slang calling their design the ‘pin and pineapple’.
Even in the United States, which has some of the laxest explosives laws in the world, it is very difficult to acquire grenades. Russia has far stricter firearms and weapons law than the USA, and it is not yet known how Mr Chechik came to be in possession of the grenade.
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