Apr 01, 2020 | Updated: 10:23 AM EDT

Russian Atheist Faces 3.5 Years Prison Term For Making ‘Pokemon GO’ Video Inside Orthodox Church

May 01, 2017 04:59 AM EDT


Ruslan Sokolovsky, a Russian atheist who made a “Pokemon GO” video inside the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, a famous Orthodox church in Russia, could go to jail for three and a half years. He was arrested in 2016 for violation of the country’s law against inciting religious hatred. His trial ended on Friday.

Kotaku reports that Sokolovksy’s “Pokemon GO” video starts with a question about the Russian law that prohibits mocking the Orthodox Church. The video includes a list of fines and prison sentence for breachers of the law. He was arrested in 2016 after Sokolovsky posted the video on YouTube.

Russian law has a maximum three and a half years for violating the country’s law against mocking the country’s Orthodox Church that Sokolovsky did with his “Pokemon GO” video. For the atheist, he found the possible 21-month jail term “savagery and barbarism.” His sentencing is scheduled for May 11.

However, Sokolovsky acknowledges that a long time ago in Russia, offenses similar to what he did by posting on YouTube the “Pokemon GO” video shot inside a church, would land the violator decades in detention. The church has historical value because it was built on a site where Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, was murdered together with his family, Washington Post reports.

The “Pokemon GO” video he shot inside the church showed the atheist going around the sacred place of worship. However, rather that pray as most people do when inside a church, he instead played the virtual reality game developed by Niantic Labs. He even questioned the existence of Jesus whom Sokolovsky considers “the rarest Pokemon.”

After he posted the “Pokemon GO” video, the 22-year-old blogger filed a “not guilty” plea to charges of insulting the feelings of religious believers. It was the same charge that two members of the Pussy Riot punk collective faced in 2012 and sent them to jail for two years, News.com.au reports.

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