MOSCOW — Russian police have arrested a man believed to be the mastermind behind the “Blue Whale Suicide Game,” which attracted young girls to its various activities leading up to ending one’s life.
Ilya Sidorov, 26, allegedly confessed this week to creating the social media game, which includes instructions to carry out various tasks over a 50-day period that negatively affect the person’s mental health, from drawing a blue whale on their arm and cutting themselves, to watching horror films, to depriving themselves of sleep. The player is then asked to ultimately commit suicide.
The game is believed to be responsible for scores of deaths, including that of a 13-year-old girl from Yetkul, who was instructed by Sidorov to jump under a train.
Sidorov reportedly broke down crying when being questioned by police about the matter.
“What was the final task? How does the game end?” he was asked, according to recorded video of the questioning.
“To commit suicide,” Sidorov replied.
“The suspect clarified that he is the administrator of a so-called suicide group that had 32 members, all of them underage,” a police spokeswoman told the New York Post. “He assigned them tasks aimed at injuring themselves in order to incite suicide.”
According to reports, Sidorov had been reported to police by foster parent Iraida Ryzhenkova after a teenager she had taken in had to be transported to the hospital.
“In May, this year a 14-year-old girl from Chelyabinsk region was taken to hospital with slash wounds after attempting to commit suicide,” Russian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Colonel Irina Volk told the Daily Mail.
“The underage girl was a member of a so-called death group in a social network. She was completing a task assigned by administrator of the group,” she explained.
Police are also investigating the deaths of Yulia Konstantinova, 15, and Veronika Volkova, 16, who had both written the words “end” on their social media pages the day of their death. Konstantinova had additionally posted an image of a blue whale earlier in the day.
In addition to Sidorov, Philipp Budeikin, 21, has also been taken into custody for being an administrator of an online suicide game. He has been charged in connection with coercing 16 young girls to commit suicide. The girls died mostly by hanging or jumping from tall buildings.