MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. Russia’s Interior Ministry uncovered nearly 1,400 ‘death groups’ operating in social networks since the start of 2017, a senior ministry official Alexander Moshkov told reporters on Tuesday.
"Since the beginning of the year, we have discovered around 1,400 ‘death groups’ in social networks, with more than 12,000 users," said Moshkov, who heads K department at the Interior Ministry.
More than 200,000 such publications in social networks were found.
This year, over 230 criminal cases were launched into inciting children to suicide through the ‘death groups.’ "Dozens of mentors and administrators of these groups were detained," he said.
Russia’s Interior Ministry said this year the lawmakers endorsed a law almost doubling the maximum penalty for inciting children to suicide - from 8 to 15 years in jail.
Teenagers as young as 13 years old, mostly from prosperous families, become administrators and mentors among the so-called 'death groups' on social media, Alexander Moshkov told reporters on Tuesday.
"The study conducted shows that the age of administrators and mentors is, as a rule, between 13 and 25 years of age, and girls under 18 years old happen to administer suicide communities in almost half of the cases uncovered," said Moshkov.
"These are children from well-to-do families who study at normal schools but engage in unlawful things," Moshkov said. He noted that they express open disdain towards their victims, foisting themselves off as reasonable people seeking to rid the world of the children getting into complex life situations and calling them ‘biological waste.
Police officers dealing with cybercrimes see no links between the mentors and administrators of the so-called ‘death groups’ on social media, a senior ministry official said.
"As of today, we don’t see that they are linked or that some center exists. But at this point I am not ready to draw a line and say this is a fact of life, as work continues and I think that we will be able to answer this question in the near future," said Alexander Moshkov.
He said law enforcement officers have been detaining mentors and administrators of ‘death groups’ on a weekly basis starting from June.
He said all these criminal probes will be brought to the logical end, and some administrators will be registered with the police or medical establishments or even get jail terms.