In Russia, Pokemon Go is now being classified as “religious hatred” if it is found to be out at Church.
Ruslan Sokolvsky, a 22 year old Russian blogger, has been found guilty by a judge in Russia of “inciting religious hatred.”
Why? He was playing Pokemon Go in church.
Unfortunately, Sokolvsky provided the evidence against himself, as a videoblogger who posted a video of him playing the game in Church.
The site of his video was the church in Yekaterinburg, which is a Russian Orthodox Church where the last emperor of Russia and his family were killed during the Russian Civil War.
The video is said to contain “anti-religious” sentiments, and its main purpose was to offend. Sokolvsky received a 3.5 year suspended sentence for his crime. While the crime does sound unusual as it involves videogames, religious hating on people who go to church is shameful and it is a good thing that he is getting punished.
The judge said the Pokemon Go incident was not the only reason Sokolvsky faced trial. She said his “offensive” videos were also the reason, including “mockery of the immaculate conception,” “denial of the existence of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad” and “giving an offensive description of Patriarch Kirill,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In a news conference after the verdict was read, Sokolvsky thanked the media for raising attention to his case. Had the public not known about his arrest, he said, the sentence would have been a lot worse.
“Until the very last moment I didn’t know what the sentencing would be, that’s why I was very nervous and feared I would get a real prison term,” he told the BBC.
Once an officially atheist state, Russia has made a stunning turnaround since the fall of the Soviet Union, with the majority of Russians now identifying themselves as Orthodox Christians. Although most Russians are not observant, the Kremlin has been eager to harness faith to promote its own agenda. The guilty verdict for the Pussy Riot members emboldened radical religious activists who have been successful in their public campaigns to get theater performances banned and exhibitions closed. Last year, activists launched a drive to collect signatures to end state funding for abortion.