Russia's Extreme Selfie Daredevils [world Service]

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20170413

20170413

2017041320170416 (WS)

Young Russians have gained a reputation on social media for taking the most extreme selfies, often involving death-defying stunts on top of skyscrapers, all for the sake of internet fame.

Lucy Ash travels from Moscow to Siberia to meet some of this trend's most high-profile figures. They explain how they are building themselves into living brands, and the ways they can make money out of their risky roof-top photographs. They reveal what initially motivated them to chance their lives in this way - and an indifference to the rising number of selfie-related deaths in Russia.

The government is less nonchalant though. and around 18 months ago it launched a 'safe selfie' campaign, to warn young people of the risks of taking photos in moving traffic, on top of radio towers, with loaded weapons or with wild animals.

But why has this phenomenon taken root in Russia? Assignment reveals how a mixture of provincial malaise, a misdirected sense of masculinity, and lax law enforcement has allowed extreme selfie culture to flourish.

Contributors include:

Alexander Chernikov

Angela Nikolau

Kirill Vselensky

Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith

Researcher: Tatyana Movshevich

(Photo: Alexander Chernikov takes a selfie on top of a roof in Barnaul, Siberia)