Russia’s Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, 55, has died in an accident during a big Arctic civil defence exercise, trying to save life of a cameraman who had fallen off a cliff during an interview. Russian media said the accident happened at the Kitabo Oron waterfall in the Putorana nature reserve in northern Siberia. After thefilm director Alexander Melnik, 63, slipped and fell into the water from the edge of a cliff, Zinichev rushed to save him but died after hitting a protruding rock. Melnik also died. Zinichev was a key member of President Vladimir Putin’s security. Melnik was a director and screenwriter and was known for his 2015 Arctic adventure film Territory. Now, he was planning a documentary on the development of the Arctic and Russia’s Northern Sea Route.
The defense exercise, ordered by President Putin , was organised by Zinichev’s department and stretched across seven regions in the Russian Arctic. Zinichev was a former KGB officer.He had headed the Emergency Situations Ministry since 2018. Zinichev held one of the highest-profile cabinet jobs, dealing with natural and man-made disasters and other rapid-response situations across the vast country. “President Putin offers deep condolences over the tragic death of Yevgeny Zinichev,” Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, told media. Condolences poured in from top officials.