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The leader behind the “Blue Whale” suicide challenge has been sentenced to three years in a Russian prison in connection with two attempted suicides performed as part of the “game.”
22-year-old Philipp Budeikin, nicknamed Philip Lis (or Fox), was sentenced by a Siberian court in a closed-door proceeding, the Daily Mail reported. He will serve his sentence not in a high-security facility, but in an open jail.
In the challenge, a player, typically a teenager, seeks out a “master” to assign them various tasks over the course of 50 days. Some tasks are mundane while others are more intense, such as watching horror films or waking up at 4:20am, but as the “game” goes on, they grow in intensity are intended to get the player into a depressive state. On the 50th day, the “player” is encouraged to commit suicide.
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.”
H/T Daily Mail
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.