- A Russian man reportedly died after drinking too much vodka during a livestream he participated in.
- Engaging in dangerous or violent acts for money has become popular among Russian streamers.
- A Russian senator said he’s preparing legislation to make so-called “thrash” streaming illegal.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A 60-year-old man in Russia died on a livestream after consuming 1.5 litres of vodka, according to Russian media outlets.
Authorities are conducting an autopsy to confirm Yuri Dushechkin’s cause of death, the International Business Times reported, citing Russian outlets. Dushechkin, who was nicknamed “Grandpa” in streams, was found dead in the city of Smolensk on Thursday, according to the International Business Times.
Viewers of the YouTube livestream reportedly donated money to encourage the man to drink more, as part of a continuing trend among Russian streamers called “thrash” streaming, wherein they earn money for engaging in violent or dangerous acts, particularly acts inflicting harm on other people. The livestream continued as Dushechkin laid on the ground, before he was found dead, according to a translated version of an article published by Lenta, a Russian outlet.
The incident was livestreamed by another man who has more than 25,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. The Russian name of the channel loosely translates to “First Step on YouTube.” The YouTuber, who reportedly goes by the name Zheka, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A YouTube spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In other videos on the channel, the man frequently offered money to homeless people in exchange for their engaging in activities like drinking vodka or hot sauce on air, according to Russian outlet Readovka. Dushechkin reportedly appeared on the channel in the past.
The incident is part of a growing trend among Russian livestreamers
“Thrash streaming,” sometimes translated as “trash streaming,” has become increasingly popular in the country, Russian state media outlet Russia Beyond reported.
In December, a Russian streamer’s girlfriend died after he left her outside in the cold weather wearing nothing but underwear. The streamer, Stas Reeflay, had his YouTube channel taken down by the platform at the time. “This kind of graphic content is not acceptable on YouTube,” a platform spokesperson told Insider.
Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov condemned the practice in a tweet Friday. “A homeless man died in Smolensk during a thrash-stream session: he was bullied, he was beaten, and the Internet scum paid money to a blogger for these spectacles,” he said, according to Russian-English translation. “Is it necessary to explain to someone else the need to legally ban thrash-streams and their eradication as a phenomenon? It is obvious to us.”
11 февраля в Совете Федерации пройдёт заседание рабочей группы по законодательному запрещению трэш-стримов. Сейчас мы собираем соображения сенаторов и экспертов. Хотим выйти 11.02 на конкретные предложения по включению нужных поправок в законодательство. Трэш-стримы – вне закона!
— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) January 28, 2021
In a subsequent tweet, Pushkov said that a working group within Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of the country’s legislative body, would meet on February 11 to prepare a law making “thrash” streaming illegal.
While most thrash streamers use Twitch and other livestreaming platforms, their stunts are later uploaded to YouTube. Popular Russian thrash streamers have amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube, though the platform has blocked some channels for violating their guidelines, Russia Beyond reported.
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