In wake of deaths, Russia launches ‘Safe Selfies’ drive

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The Russian interior ministry on Tuesday launched a campaign urging people not to risk their lives taking selfies in dangerous situations after dozens were killed, with around 100 others injured, so far this year.

“A cool selfie could cost you your life,” the interior ministry warned in a new leaflet.

“A selfie with a weapon kills,” is another of the campaign’s slogans. That caution comes after a 21-year-old woman in Moscow accidentally shot herself in the head in May while taking a selfie and holding a pistol. She suffered head injuries but survived.

In January two young men blew themselves up in the Urals taking a selfie while holding a live hand grenade with the pin pulled out. The cell phone with the selfie survived as a record.

A teenager in the Ryazan region died in May while attempting to take a selfie as he climbed on a railway bridge and accidentally came into contact with live wires.

“Unfortunately, we have noted recently that the number of accidents caused by lovers of self-photography is constantly increasing,” said Yelena Alexeyeva, an aide to the interior minister.

“Since the beginning of the year we are talking about some hundred cases of injuries for sure.”

Selfies have also led to “dozens of deadly accidents”, she added.

“The problem really exists and leads to very unfortunate consequences.”

‘Your last photo may be posthumous’

The “Safe Selfie” campaign includes leaflets, a video and online advice available on the interior ministry’s website.

The campaign uses warning signs modelled after road signs. A figure holding a selfie stick veers in front of a speeding train in one image.

“A selfie on the railway tracks is a bad idea if you value your life,” the leaflet says.

In another image a stick figure tumbles down a mountain, presumably after trying to take a selfie at the summit.

The ministry has also created a public safety video that includes spectacular images shot by Russia’s youth subculture of “roofers”, who illicitly sneak into high-rise buildings and snap themselves at the top. Their photos often go viral on social networking sites.

“Before taking a selfie, everyone should think about the fact that racing after a high number of ‘likes’ could lead him on a journey to death and his last extreme photo could turn out to be posthumous,” Alexeyeva warned.

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