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Russian Man Faces Jail Sentence for Playing Pokémon Go in Church

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 May 02
  • Comments

A Russian man who posted a video of himself playing Pokémon Go during a church service may face over three years in jail.

Twenty-one-year-old Ruslan Sokolovsky was charged with inciting religious hatred after he posted online the video of himself playing Pokémon Go in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, about 1,000 miles east of Moscow. Prosecutors in the case called for Sokolovsky to receive three-and-a-half years in jail.

Sokolovsky is locally known for publishing an atheist magazine that Relevant Magazine notes is modeled after the French satire publication Charlie Hebdo.

In the video he posted, Sokolovsky says, “But, you know, I didn't catch the rarest Pokémon that you could find there — Jesus. They said it doesn't even exist, so I'm not really surprised.”

He has also said his indictment is a form of “savagery and barbarism,” and compared his being prosecuted for disrespecting a church service to the punishment many dissenting Russians faced under Communist leader Joseph Stalin.

Although government authorities seem to be against Sokolovsky, he has the support of many Russian citizens, as well as countless others on social media.

The Russian mayor of Yekaterinburg called Sokolovsky’s arrest a disgrace and stated, "You cannot be arrested for human stupidity, bad manners and provocation."


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Publication date: May 2, 2017