ST. PETERSBURG, July 19 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – The Tobolsk District Court of the Tyumen region in Russia has sentenced Philipp Budeykin, aka Philipp Lis, 21, to 3 years and 4 months in a penal colony settlement for inducing teenagers to suicide, Vitaly Lazarev, the court’s spokesman told RAPSI on Wednesday.

As the court has found out, Budeykin, failing to find a job after graduating from a secondary school, established a group in Russian VKontakte social network, where he put on display photos and videos demonstrating dead people and killings of people and animals.

According to investigators, Budeykin was behind suicides of 15 teenagers; nevertheless, only two counts of inducement to suicide could be proved in court.  

For the crimes Budeykin had committed, he was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in a penal colony, although the judgement is not yet final, according to Lazarev.

In May 2017, Budeykin pleaded guilty.

A criminal case was opened in May 2016 after several Russian media outlets reported about so-called Groups of Death, numerous groups where young people were encouraged to kill themselves.

Investigators claim that from December 2013 to May 2016 eight Groups of Death were registered on Vkontakte network. Fifteen teenagers from various regions of Russia were members of these groups and committed suicide. Searches were conducted in ten regions of Russia.

The investigation is currently ongoing in Russia’s Krasnodar Territory, Republics of Komi and Bashkortostan and Moscow, Volgograd, Voronezh, Tula, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk and Omsk regions. Investigators also claim that admins of Groups of Death have been found in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Russian Investigative Committee says it continues to work to establish identities of other persons involved in inducing teenagers to suicide via social networks.