Philipp Budeikin, the creator and ‘ringleader’ of the Blue Whale suicide game has been jailed in Russia for three years for inciting young people to kill themselves.
Budeikin, 22, was imprisoned by a Siberian court in the country’s first conviction of an ‘administrator’ social media death groups that prey on vulnerable teenagers.
Budeikin had previously been investigated for alleged ties to 16 different suicides in Russia.
via The Daily Dot:
Despite being investigated for 16 deaths, confessing to provoking 17, and having another 20 linked to the challenge itself, Budeikin was only sentenced for two attempted suicides of one 15-year-old and one 16-year-old who failed to carry out or survived their attempts. Budeikin denied reports that as many as 130 teens had followed through with the challenge, but alleged that another 28 teens were “ready” to do so.
News of Budeikin’s sentence comes just more than a week after two teen suicides in the United States were linked to the challenge. The teens, a 15-year-old from Texas and a 16-year-old from Atlanta, are believed to be two of the first-known cases of the challenge reaching the U.S.
“There are people, and there is biological waste. Those who do not represent any value for society. Who cause or will cause only harm to society,” Budeikin said. “I was cleaning our society of such people… It was necessary to distinguish normal [people] from biological rubbish.”
The online challenge began in February 2017, when the game played a role in the death of two teenagers in Russia. Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, fell to their deaths from the roof of an apartment building.
In other cases, Anna K, from Karsun, Russia, was found hanged to death, and Vilena Piven, 15, jumped from the 13th floor of a building in Mariupol, Ukraine.
What is the Blue Whale Challenge?
The Blue Whale Challenge is a game that encourages young people to take their own lives. Administrators send instructions to players online to complete a daily task for 50 straight days up until the end of the game. To provide proof that the player completed the task, the players usually must send a photo to a “curator” or a “whale,” which is usually a much older person manipulating the player. Some of these tasks require self-mutilation.
This game originated in Russia in 2013. F57 was a name of one of these alleged cyber death groups of the VKontakte social network. In 2015, this group allegedly caused its first suicide.