09 Marzo 2017 16:38
Russian police are investigating an epidemic of teen suicides across the country that appear to have been provoked by a sinister online game known as Blue Whale. Three girls between the ages of 15 and 16 threw themselves from the tops of buildings, while a 14-year-old girl died after being hit by a train.
Two of the girls who jumped – Yulia Konstantinova and Veronika Volkova – left brief notes which appeared to be related to the game. Yulia left a note on social media saying 'end' shortly after posting a picture with a blue whale. Veronika wrote 'Sense is lost... End,' before taking her own life.
'Particular attention during the investigation of the criminal case will be given to the study of their social contacts on the internet,' police said in a statement.
Three criminal cases of incitement to suicide via social media were recently opened in Krasnoyarsk. All three involved schoolgirls. In these cases, the teenagers were rescued.
The local school director told law enforcement that he had received an anonymous call informing him that a student had joined a 'death group' and was planning to kill herself soon. Police were able to identify the girl who explained that she had joined a game on social media and had been given 'tasks' by the group administrator. She did not follow the commands, but there are fears that others did.
According to police, schoolchildren are ordered to carve a blue whale onto their wrist or leg. They are also urged to watch horror films all day, wake up at 4.20am and obey all commands up until the final day – day 50 – when they have to take their own life.
Last year, at least 130 suicides are thought to have been connected to the sinister game. After the arrest of a supposed ringleader there was a reduction in cases, but the numbers are still shockingly high.
Last year, investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported: 'We have counted 130 suicides of children that took place between November 2015 and April 2016. Almost all of these children were members of the same internet groups and lived in good, happy families.'
In 2016, a 21-year-old named as Philipp Budeikin was detained and charged with organising eight groups between 2013 and 2016 that promoted suicide. According to the case against him, 15 of these teenagers killed themselves, while five were rescued at the last moment.