Case study 1. Killer game ‘Blue Whale’

Russia is considered the homeland of ‘Blue Whale’. The game surfaced on the internet in 2013 and activated itself over the course of time. From November 2015 to April 2016 130 teenage suicides cases were recorded across Russia.

‘Blue Whale’ was created by Russian national Philipp Budeikin, arrested due to his connection with 16 teenage suicides. The second defendant is Ilia Sidorov, who confessed to his connection with the suicide of 7 teenagers. He claims to have recruited 32 teenagers in an online group and gave various orders to them.

In the beginning Budeikin started action with dissemination of a horror video and was trying to engage as many children as possible into watching it. For further psychological manipulations Budeikin used to select youngsters aged 11-12 with a particularly weak psyche suffering from the lack of attention from parents/family. During the game Budeikin became close with the victims, created an illusion of friendship, expressed warmth and attention. Consequently,, a lot of teenage girls even fell in love with him.

Assignments issued by curators during the game included:

  • watching scary videos
  • standing or sitting on the edge of a roof on a high building
  • scratching an image of a blue whale on the body. This gesture means to be accepted in the inner circle of the game. This assignment generally affected children with self-establishing problems. A feeling of being expelled from one circle, amplifies a desire to join another circle and establish oneself within.
  • waking up at 4:20 every morning for 50 days. Completing this assignment causes sleeping disorder weakening a teenager’s psychological strength and simplifying manipulation.

In one of the interviews Budeikin called his victims “biological trash” and claimed that the purpose of his game was to cleanse society from the people with no value, from people who would only cause damage in the future.

When commenting on the reasons of dissemination of Blue Whale, experts name several factors:

  • possibility of mining currency in “darknet”.
  • curators’ physiological issues. In Budeikin’s case it was a bipolar disorder and the aftermath of violence in his childhood. Curators are people with self-realization problems in real life, whosuffer from the lack of recognition and power.
  • Political basis. Killer games as a form of hybrid war.