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Russian Blogger Sentenced to Jail for Playing Pokémon Go in Church

Photo: Ruslan Sokolovsky/YouTube

Remember Pokémon Go? Of course you don’t; the game’s popularity exploded immediately following its launch in 2016, but quickly declined. Around that time — August 2016 — a 22-year-old from Yekaterinburg, Russia, filmed himself playing the game in a church. Ruslan Sokolovsky posted the video to YouTube, where it has since racked up nearly 2 million views. Sokolovsky was inspired to film the stunt after the Russian government announced that people could potentially be punished for playing the game in religious sanctuaries, including fines and up to three years in prison. Which seems a little harsh — but, hey, it’s Russia. The blogger called the rules “total bullshit” in the beginning of his video.

“Total bullshit” or not, nearly a year later, Sokolovsky received a suspended sentence of three and a half years for “offending religious sensibilities,” Engadget reports. His sentence could reportedly be stretched to as many as five years, despite lobbying attempts by Amnesty International to free him. No word on whether or not he’ll be allowed to catch pocket monsters in prison.

Blogger Gets Jail Sentence for Playing Pokémon Go in Church