Russian blogger sentenced after posting video online of himself playing Pokemon GO in a church

Russian blogger sentenced after posting video online of himself playing Pokemon GO in a church

A Russian blogger has been handed a three and a year suspended sentence for posting a video of himself online playing Pokemon GOin a church.

As reported by the BBC, Ruslan Sokolovsky was found guilty by a court in Yekaterinburg of insulting religious believers and inciting hatred. Sokolovsky had pleaded not guilty to the crime.

He was also found guilty of "illegal trafficking of special technical equipment" as he was said to be in possession of a pen with a built-in video camera, which was discovered after authorities searched his home.

Prison fears

In the video in question, Sokolovsky is said to have walked into the church that was built in remembrance of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

The blogger is heard saying it was “complete nonsense” that there may be legal repercussions for playing the location-based AR game in such a building.

Following the ruling, Sokolovsky expressed his relief over the suspended sentence and has apologised to anyone offended.

"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," Sokolovsky told BBC Russian.

Legal consequences

Pokemon GO has sparked a number of legal issues across the world since its release in mid-2016.

A ruling earlier this year in the US requires developers to seek permits to use Milwaukee parks in their games after it claimed a sudden influx of visitors playing the game damaged the area.

The County Parks Department was unsuccessful in its attempts to hold Niantic financially accountable for the damage, however.

In August last year, a man from New Jersey filed a lawsuit against Nintendo, The Pokemon Company and Niantic Labs on the grounds that Pokemon GO was encouraging people to trespass on private property without the consent of the land owner. This resulted, he claimed, in strangers venturing into his backyard.

Senior Editor

Craig Chapple is Senior Editor of and He was previously Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.


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