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Russian senator proposes imprisoning people for encouraging suicide

Russian Senator Anton Belyakov has proposed legislation that would make it a crime to “induce or promote suicide.” He's submitted the draft law to the federal parliament.

The law would punish those who encourage suicide through “persuasion, bribery, [or] deceit” or by distributing “information that forms an attractive perception of suicide.” The senator suggested a sentence of five years for encouraging an adult to commit suicide and one of eight years for encouraging a minor to commit suicide.

In an explanatory note accompanying the bill, the senator emphasized the negative involvement of the Russian Internet in children’s suicides. According to Belyakov, “the Internet has a pernicious influence” on the psyche of teenagers, identifying the Web as the main reason Russia recorded the most suicides among children of any European country in 2013.

Belyakov also said research has shown that suicide among adolescents can often be attributed to their activity on the Internet. “A lot of closed groups on social networks literally lure students into their communities by making them believe in their worthlessness and unworthiness to exist in the outside world, and in the meaninglessness of their continued existence,” he argued.