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    The alleged administrator of an internet group of death

    Suspected Ringleader of Internet 'Group of Death' Arrested in Moscow

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    Russian detectives investigating so-called "groups of death" operating on social networks have made their first arrest, Russia's Investigative Committee announced on Tuesday.

    A 21-year-old man in the Moscow region has been arrested on suspicion of incitement to suicide in connection with an internet "group of death," Russia's Investigative Committee announced on Tuesday.

    Filipp Budeykin, who used the online name "Filipp Lis," is accused of creating one of these groups on the VKontakte social networking site, which he allegedly used to promote suicide and encourage vulnerable young people to end their lives.

    According to investigators, these group administrators limited access to their groups, creating an illusion akin to that of a "membership of a closed club." 

    After being allowed access to the group, members had to carry out different tasks set by the administrator, which gave them a higher status in the group and access to more information about death, suicide and methods to inflict physical injuries.

    In order to get more respect from the administrators of these groups, who cast themselves in a role of unquestionable authority, these children sent drawings, stories and photographs of physical injuries to Filipp Lis and other leaders of these online cults.

    The abuse often occurred late at night, which caused children to suffer from a lack of sleep, further disrupting their mental health and ability to perceive and analyze what was happening.

    A total of eight groups inciting suicide are known to have been created on VKontakte between December 2013 and May 2016. 

    In May state investigators in St Petersburg began their investigation following media reports that social network users had incited teenagers to end their own lives.

    So far, the investigation has identified at least 15 teenagers across Russia who took their own lives after receiving incitement to do so from members of a social network "group of death."

    According to the Russian penal code, incitement to suicide carries a sentence of up to five years imprisonment. The suicide of a minor who died as a result of psychological pressure on their state of mind, may be reclassified and prosecuted as a murder case.

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    group, cult, death, Internet, Russia
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