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Suicide ‘game’ Blue Whale not recognized in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 16
Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has released a statement regarding the so-called suicide game Blue Whale, saying its existence has not been confirmed in Georgia.

The MIA reports that an investigation into the game was launched in Georgia in May, under the articles 115 and 285 of Criminal Code of Georgia, which means driving the underage to suicide or attempt of suicide, and also the illegal use of computer data or a computer system.

The ministry says that the police carefully studied all the messages allegedly linked to the game. They also instructed school administrations to inform them in case of any suspicious signs on the schoolchildren.

MIA added that the law enforcers questioned several underage people regarding the received notes, in parallel using the assistance of qualified psychologists. Also, personal profiles of minors’ social networks, their computers and mobile phones were examined.

“With full responsibility, we declare that according to the current materials in the Georgian internet space, the real fact of the existence of game - Blue Whale has not been confirmed,” the ministry stated.

Prior the statement of MIA, Georgian media informed that on Friday another alleged victim of the game, a 17-year old boy, hanged himself in Tbilisi.

Rustavi 2 TV reports that the boy wrote a letter before the suicide, apologizing to his parents for his action.

The broadcaster says that 2 months ago, another alleged victim of Blue Whale, a 14-year old boy, also committed suicide in the capital.

The family of the deceased says that Interior Ministry launched an investigation 2 months ago, but they have not been informed about the results yet.

The game Blue Whale was created in Russia in 2013 and its participants, mainly underage, are allegedly assigned to a curator who instructs that various acts of self-harm to be committed over the course of 50 days.

The term Blue Whale comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is likened to suicide. While the phenomenon has received significant media attention, very little reliable evidence is available for either the game's existence or its role in any of several well published child and teenage suicides or acts of self-harm.

In 2016, Philipp Budeikin, a 21-year-old former psychology student from Russia who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game in 2013. He said his intention was to cleanse society by pushing persons to suicide whom he deemed as having no value. Budeikin was arrested and held in Kresty Prison, St Petersburg, and in May 2016 pled guilty to "inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide."

In June 2017, postman Ilya Sidorov was arrested in Moscow, also accused of setting up a "Blue Whale" group to encourage children to self-harm and ultimately commit suicide. He claimed to have persuaded 32 children to join his group and follow commands.