Blogger arrested for playing Pokémon Go in a church
Ruslan Sokovsky, above, a young Russian blogger from Yekaterinburg, has been arrested for playing Pokémon Go in a church, then posting a video of his ‘crime’.
Sokovsky, according to this report, was acting in defiance of an earlier warning broadcast by a Russian state news programme against catching Pokémon on the state border or in places of worship.
He was arrested on September 3 after the authorities got wind of the fact that he has played the game in the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land, a local Orthodox church built to commemorate the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
Police considered this to be a violation of the Russian law against mockery of religious beliefs.
In the video Sokolovsky asked before heading to the building:
Who can be offended by the fact that you’re walking around a church with a smartphone?
A week after his caper, Valery Gorelykh, a spokesperson for the regional police department, said that the video would be checked for violations of law. He also expressed his personal opinion, saying that such “pokemonists” should be jailed for a minimum of five years so that others would be discouraged from committing blasphemy.
The Moscow Times adds that in early 2016, Sokolovsky launched an atheist magazine, writing:
We have been inspired by Charlie Hebdo and have decided that there are also too few such publications in Russia … Using the written word to take on the censorship piling on from all sides and what’s practically a police state now isn’t a new idea, but it’s just as relevant today as ever.