A Russian YouTuber has been imprisoned and could be behind bars for a significant amount of time, just because he was attempting to catch a Poliwag in a church and posting footage of it online. As the Guardian reports, Ruslan Sokolovsky’s video has been seen by more than 900,000 times since it was posted on August eleventh and begins with Sokolovsky addressing to news reports warning Pokémon Go players that they could possibly get locked up if they played the game in church.
“I decided to just catch some Pokémon in church because, why not?” Sokolovsky says before the cartoon theme song plays. “I believe it’s both safe and not prohibited by law. Let’s go.”
After the video was posted on YouTube, Authorities started investigating Sokolovsky, whose channel has around 300,000 subscribers and a history of criticizing the Russian church. In a statement released last Saturday, the investigation team said the 21-year-old had been accused of“inciting hatred and offending religious sensibilities” and would be detained for two months, also stressing that the punishment could be as high as five years in jail.
As the Guardian and the Verge have also noted, the statute Sokolovsky allegedly violated was the same Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code that landed members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot in prison for several years back in 2012.While numerous cities and nations have had their issues with Pokémon, Russia’s relationship with the blockbuster games may be the most contentious.
Although the Russian government’s head of the religious affairs committee Jaroslav Nilov doubted that using a cell phone in the church is counted as an insult, a representative for the Russian Orthodox Church claimed Sokolovsky is a “well-known” blogger “who works in the style of Charlie Hebdo.” For now, Sokolovsky has been detained on a two-month sentence and as indicated by the AP he has already filed an appeal.