Russian Pokemon Go trainer faces five years in jail for playing the game in church

A video posted on YouTube last month, could lead to a five-year stretch in a Russian jail for Ruslan Sokolovsky. It seems that the video, which has been viewed 946,000 times, shows Sokolovsky playing Pokemon Go on his phone inside the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg. The video was posted on August 11th and led an investigative committee to release a statement on September 3rd.

The statement says that a 21-year old was charged with inciting hatred and offending religious sensibilities. Obviously referring to Sokolovsky, the statement goes on to say that he will be detained for at least two months with the possibility that the sentence could stretch out to reach five years in jail.

The mayor of Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman, is obviously not a Pokemon Go fan. While he called the arrest "a disgrace," he added that "You can’t arrest a man for idiocy." Also weighing in with a comment was Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoyda. The latter posted on his Facebook page that Sokolovsky is a well-known young blogger who writes in the satirical style of Charlie Hebdo. The spokesman said that the charge against the 21-year old had nothing to do with catching Pokemon inside the church.

Supporting Sokolovsky is feminist punk rock activist group Pussy Riot. The Pokemon Go trainer was hit with the same charges that three members of the all-female group were arrested for back in 2012. Their arrests and subsequent jail sentences made international news. A tweet disseminated by them on Saturday attempts to line up global support to get the 21-year old removed from jail.

source: @pussyrrriot via TheGuardian



1. Scott93274

Posts: 6034; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I'm trying to act shocked but this is Russia after all.

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Oh man, that country's laws and administrative authority is terrible. Sympathy for that poor pokemon GO fan.

13. Awalker

Posts: 1977; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

It looks like they've moved from communism to a theocracy/dictatorship. They don't value freedom.

14. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

They should do the same here in the US.

2. shahinctg123

Posts: 39; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

5 years jail for playing game!!!??? #Niantic is a US firm. I think that is the main reason!!! ;)

4. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

That could be true too, since Niantic is a US company. Russia and the US are like cats and rats, like water and fire. They just don't fit together.

5. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

and this was over a game...imagine what they'd do to let's say..rapists? *cough Brock Turner *cough

11. Subie

Posts: 2364; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

The headline of this article is misleading as nothing in the charge against this man has to do with Pokemon. I think there is more to this story then we know. And here is a quote from a church spokesman in this very article: "The spokesman said that the charge against the 21-year old had nothing to do with catching Pokemon inside the church."

12. Awalker

Posts: 1977; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

In the linked article it says: "At the start of the YouTube video, which by now has been watched more than 900,000 times, the vlogger refers to news reports warning players could be jailed if they played the game in the church." then it states: "In a statement released on Saturday, the local investigation committee said a 21-year-old had been charged with inciting hatred and offending religious sensibilities and detained for two months. It added that the penalty could reach up to five years in prison."

15. Subie

Posts: 2364; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

That article and this one also states that Pussy Riot was also arrested in 2012 on the same charge - long before Pokemon Go existed. My original point was that this had nothing to do with Pokemon. This man deliberately was looking for trouble as he filmed himself going throughout the building. He didn't just innocently wander in there while playing. Videoing himself and others and then posted it to youtube with music added. It could easily come across as mocking them - thus the charge. I think he got what he was looking for too... trouble.

17. TerryTerius unregistered

You are making one hell of an assumption.

18. Subie

Posts: 2364; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Hi Terry, Did you watch the video and read the reports? If a man says to himself: "I could be arrested for doing a specific activity" and then does the activity, posts it online, and then gets arrested. Was he not tempting fate? Otherwise you'll have to be more clear as to what my assumption was.

23. yoghibawono

Posts: 240; Member since: May 04, 2016

you are making one hell of an assumption to someone whose actually doing their research ;)

6. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

I think he was in TeamRockets

7. iCloud

Posts: 125; Member since: May 15, 2014

Russia doesn't play around.

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Punishment does not fit the crime. Wait! This is a crime?!

9. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

That's crazy, so much for so little when that country's leader is by no means "A man of God"

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I hope when he gets out he hates, he becomes a terrorist in Russia and avenges this wrongful act.

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Tech-stupid is one thing, we accept and we ignore it. But encouraging people to become terrorists means either your brain is smaller than ISISs activists one, either your just a fked up kid. Either way, your comment is stupid-stupid-stupid and I hope you never ever get your stupid person or the person of a loved one in front of a mofo terrorist.

16. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

at russia, Pokemon catch u

19. Awaragardiyan unregistered

In Russia, pokemon go plays you

20. XperiaG

Posts: 178; Member since: Jun 06, 2016

It just a Game! c'mon! 5 years seems too much!

22. TheCrews

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 06, 2016


24. CitizenX

Posts: 41; Member since: Jun 27, 2014

Nothing but Russian bashing as usual. Has the US (Washington) ever said anything positive about Russia? Just when you think the top brass in the US couldn't be more screwed up, along comes that weirdo freak Hilary. Wow what a democracy, You get a choice between two terds.

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