Russian ‘Pokemon Go’ player may face prison time for making video inside Orthodox Church
A Russian man may face 3 1/2 years of prison time after creating a video of "Pokemon Go" inside the famous Church of all Saints in Yekaterinburg.
The man in question, Ruslan Sokolovsky, was detained by Russian authorities last 2016 after his video of "Pokemon Go" has been discovered online, Kotaku reported. Prosecutors, during the last day of the trial on Friday, has requested for the 22-year-old man to receive the maximum sentence of 3 1/2 years for his wrongdoings.
"I may be an idiot, but I am by no means an extremist," Sokolovsky said in his written statement posted on the Russian news site Meduza. The 22-year-old atheist then continued to compare the sentence he receives for mocking the Orthodox Church to people who were imprisoned for decades for making fun of communism and Russia's former leader, Joseph Stalin.
"Now it turns out that they want to imprison me for 3.5 years [in real terms] because [I] obscenely joked about Orthodoxy and about Patriarch Kirill," he added. "For me, this is savagery and barbarism. I do not understand how this is at all possible. Nevertheless, as we have seen, it is quite possible indeed."
Sokolovsky is being charged with three offenses, according to the report on Meduza. The blogger is facing the charges of inciting hatred or enmity, offending religious believers, and illegally bringing in equipment for covert filming.
Sokolovsky is not the first person to have ever charged with inciting religious hatred in recent history. In 2012, two women members of the punk-rock collective group, Pussy Riot, were arrested shortly after staging a protest against Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, at an Orthodox cathedral in Moscow, The Washington Post reported. The two women have reportedly been charged with hooliganism after their arrest.
The Russian parliament, the following year after the Pussy Riot incident, has passed a law that would criminalize offenders that "insult the feelings of believers."