Russian blogger given 3.5-year suspended jail sentence for playing Pokémon Go in church

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

There have been plenty of stories about Pokémon Go fans playing the game in locations that should probably be avoided, but they're nothing compared to the situation of one Russian blogger, who has just been given a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for videoing himself playing the AR title in a church.

22-year-old Ruslan Sokolovsky, from the Ural Mountain city of Yekaterinburg, was found guilty of insulting religious believers and inciting hatred by the local court. Back in 2016, he posted footage of himself playing Pokémon Go in the city’s Church of All Saints - built in remembrance of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Russian authorities said it showed a “disrespect for society.”

According to Russian news agency TASS, the judge said: “In accordance with the expert evaluation, the court found blogger Sokolovsky guilty of inciting hatred, violating religious feelings and illegal possession of special technical means - a pen with a video camera.” Sokolovsky said the pen wasn’t his, and that it contained a light bulb, not a camera.

Sokolovsky posted the video in response to the Russain government’s crackdown on people deemed to have committed acts that offend religious sensibilities. "Who could get offended if you're just walking around with your smartphone in a church?" he asks at the start of the clip.

A few weeks after it was uploaded, police entered his apartment using keys from the landlord and placed Sokolovsky under house arrest. In October, he was taken to a pre-trial detention center for breaching the terms of his arrest.

Prosecutors had called for Sokolovsky, who repeatedly apologized to anyone who was offended by his video, to be jailed for three-and-a-half years. The BBC reports that he was visibly relieved when the suspended sentence was announced. "Without the support from reporters, I would possibly have been given a real prison sentence," he said.

Sokolovsky has now been placed under house arrest until August 14, 2017.

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MannerMauler

TS Addict
While I don't advocate playing on a phone or tablet in ANY place of worship, being it a Catholic church, Baptist church, Budish temple, or Muslim mosque, prison time is going a bit overboard. Even house arrest is a bit outlandish but better than jail time. If you don't want people doing this, have them put their phone in a lock box or something of the like.

Also, how do suspended sentences work? Are they applied if you get some other charge like assault or burglary?
 
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davislane1

Wow that's a strict church.
Im picturing a angry priest or something whooping his ***.
Instead of jail, get him to do community service.
Bring bacon into a mosque in any other developed country and you get charged with a hate crime because offensive. If Pokemon Go offends these folks when played in their place of worship, Russia is just being consistent.
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Maybe he forgot to put his envelope in the collection plate, which is not to say that it's all about the money ..... but then again, churches do seem to be acting more like businesses than a house of prayer .......
 
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stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
Wow that's a strict church.
Im picturing a angry priest or something whooping his ***.
Instead of jail, get him to do community service.
More like strict Russia.

Really, the kid is being guilty of being an A5$ and that's about it. He did it intentionally and was dumb enough to post it online for attention. Do I agree with his sentence? No.
 
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stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
Maybe he forgot to put his envelope in the collection plate, which is not to say that it's all about the money ..... but then again, churches do seem to be acting more like businesses than a house of prayer .......
You're welcome to check my church out. :p
 

MannerMauler

TS Addict
Maybe he forgot to put his envelope in the collection plate, which is not to say that it's all about the money ..... but then again, churches do seem to be acting more like businesses than a house of prayer .......
Any big baptist minister is just an advertising genius. While smaller Christian churches are more like small communities, the bigger ones (the ministers anyway) are just in the money earning business. A small town/countryside baptist minister will be driving an old pickup or economy car while a mega church baptist minister will be driving Mercedes, Cadillac, BMW, etc.

Bring bacon into a mosque in any other developed country and you get charged with a hate crime because offensive. If Pokemon Go offends these folks when played in their place of worship, Russia is just being consistent.
While doing such a thing is a dumb idea, not all people know (I thought it was beef for Muslims, pork for jews) this and even if they do, jail time still overboard. community service or, in more severe offenses, house arrest or no more than a month in the county lockup is more fitting. If you're doing someting as petty as taking bacon into a mosque or synagogue, you probably won't be shooting either one anytime soon and something like the punishments I've mentioned will scare you off from doing something like this again. That is, if you actually have a brain or a tiny bit of common sense.
 
D

davislane1

While doing such a thing is a dumb idea, not all people know (I thought it was beef for Muslims, pork for jews) this and even if they do, jail time still overboard. community service or, in more severe offenses, house arrest or no more than a month in the county lockup is more fitting. If you're doing someting as petty as taking bacon into a mosque or synagogue, you probably won't be shooting either one anytime soon and something like the punishments I've mentioned will scare you off from doing something like this again. That is, if you actually have a brain or a tiny bit of common sense.
I was making political commentary, not agreeing with the punishment.
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Maybe he forgot to put his envelope in the collection plate, which is not to say that it's all about the money ..... but then again, churches do seem to be acting more like businesses than a house of prayer .......
Any big baptist minister is just an advertising genius. While smaller Christian churches are more like small communities, the bigger ones (the ministers anyway) are just in the money earning business. A small town/countryside baptist minister will be driving an old pickup or economy car while a mega church baptist minister will be driving Mercedes, Cadillac, BMW, etc.

Bring bacon into a mosque in any other developed country and you get charged with a hate crime because offensive. If Pokemon Go offends these folks when played in their place of worship, Russia is just being consistent.
While doing such a thing is a dumb idea, not all people know (I thought it was beef for Muslims, pork for jews) this and even if they do, jail time still overboard. community service or, in more severe offenses, house arrest or no more than a month in the county lockup is more fitting. If you're doing someting as petty as taking bacon into a mosque or synagogue, you probably won't be shooting either one anytime soon and something like the punishments I've mentioned will scare you off from doing something like this again. That is, if you actually have a brain or a tiny bit of common sense.
Its beef for Hindus, Pork for Islam or Judaism, anything other than fish for Christians on Friday. Every major religion has their own dietary restrictions.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
While I don't advocate playing on a phone or tablet in ANY place of worship, being it a Catholic church, Baptist church, Budish temple, or Muslim mosque, prison time is going a bit overboard. Even house arrest is a bit outlandish but better than jail time. If you don't want people doing this, have them put their phone in a lock box or something of the like.

Also, how do suspended sentences work? Are they applied if you get some other charge like assault or burglary?
He's been in custody, I believe, since last year... so the suspended sentence basically makes up for that - meaning he gets released in a few months instead of another few years.

While he was a fool, the punishment should fit the crime - I hardly see how prison is justified.... got to love autocracy... complain all you want about Trump - THIS is what happens when you don't have democracy.
 

mattfrompa

TS Evangelist
" guilty of insulting religious believers ..." and the punishment should be for him to be asked to leave. And nothing else. ever. **** I hate people
 
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Raoul Duke

The part that gets me is "illegal possession of special technical means” a pen with a video camera, even though Sokolovsky said the pen wasn’t his, and that it contained a light bulb, not a camera.
like the old days when Anti-Soviet Activity was a serious charge. What constituted Anti-Soviet Activity? Well of course whatever they wanted it to
 

MannerMauler

TS Addict
He's been in custody, I believe, since last year... so the suspended sentence basically makes up for that - meaning he gets released in a few months instead of another few years.

While he was a fool, the punishment should fit the crime - I hardly see how prison is justified.... got to love autocracy... complain all you want about Trump - THIS is what happens when you don't have democracy.
I'm fifty-fifty on Trump. At least he's better than Hillary. While he has done his fair share of stupid things, at least he's doing some good. I really admire how he put the whole trade thing with China aside until the whole North Korea nuke problem is dealt with. It shows he's a forward thinker.

Straining relations with China is the last thing we want when N. Korea is on the brink of making a Nuclear missile capable of hitting mainland US.
 

dogofwars

TS Addict
Well you know Russian's corrupt need their office space free of possession of special technical means. After all it's there they make their secret deal.
 
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RobStow

TS Enthusiast
"While doing such a thing is a dumb idea, not all people know (I thought it was beef for Muslims, pork for jews)"
Pork is a no-no for both Muslims and Jews ... yet I know members of both who just loooove bacon.
Beef is taboo for Hindu's.

Both are taboo for vegans and it ever so much fun to watch them squirm when they get caught cheating on their no-face "ethical" diets.
 

dob_1

TS Booster
Maybe he forgot to put his envelope in the collection plate, which is not to say that it's all about the money ..... but then again, churches do seem to be acting more like businesses than a house of prayer .......
Any big baptist minister is just an advertising genius. While smaller Christian churches are more like small communities, the bigger ones (the ministers anyway) are just in the money earning business. A small town/countryside baptist minister will be driving an old pickup or economy car while a mega church baptist minister will be driving Mercedes, Cadillac, BMW, etc.

Bring bacon into a mosque in any other developed country and you get charged with a hate crime because offensive. If Pokemon Go offends these folks when played in their place of worship, Russia is just being consistent.
While doing such a thing is a dumb idea, not all people know (I thought it was beef for Muslims, pork for jews) this and even if they do, jail time still overboard. community service or, in more severe offenses, house arrest or no more than a month in the county lockup is more fitting. If you're doing someting as petty as taking bacon into a mosque or synagogue, you probably won't be shooting either one anytime soon and something like the punishments I've mentioned will scare you off from doing something like this again. That is, if you actually have a brain or a tiny bit of common sense.
Its beef for Hindus, Pork for Islam or Judaism, anything other than fish for Christians on Friday. Every major religion has their own dietary restrictions.
Jesus declared all foods 'clean' thus removing any religious restrictions on what Christians can eat. The Roman Catholic Church (& maybe Orthodox) later added the restriction to eating fish on Friday. It is a Church Tradition and not a requirement of the religion.
 

kenc1101

TS Booster
Acts
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:

49
“‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
50
Has not my hand made all these things?’[a]

There is no such thing as a physical place of worship. Those who worship God worship Him in spirit and truth as Jesus said. This man did absolutely nothing wrong and it never should have been an issue.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
It's not unreasonable to suggest that through the ages, religion has done at least as much harm as it has done good.
Roman Catholicism is a circular mind trap. If you sin, and admit to it, you will be forgiven. But doesn't that give you leave to sin as much as you like, whether if it's done accidentally or on purpose? And really, couldn't the human mind accept "human values", without Jesus, (or whoever), looking over your shoulder in Sunday school?

With the assassination of Russia's Czar and his family during the Bolshevik revolution, Russia's Orthodox church took a huge hit. The Communists for most practical purposes, outlawed religion, and I find myself quite in agreement with their decision.

So now it would seem, with the CCCP in disarray, religion is staging a comeback. Now that former Warsaw pact nations have regained their sovereignty, it would seem that instead of being forbidden to practice religion, you are now prohibited for not doing so.

So, like a huge coil spring unwinding, religion is back with a vengeance, overcompensating for the time it has missed, while bound and determined to install religious institutions as the "one true government".

One has to assume that Russian TV doesn't have the late-night plethora of fire & brimstone beggars, liars, thieves, and sociopaths, that we in America depend upon for comfort and solace. Because you would have to think, the gentleman could have simply turned on the TV, and played Pokemon while he ignored it. If the guilt and fear instilled by the overnight shamans weighed too heavily on his conscience, (oops sorry, I meant "soul"), he could either mail them a bouncy rubber check, or cut the plug off the TV....Thereby, at least ostensibly, avoiding a lengthy prison sentence.
 
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Raoul Duke

It's not unreasonable to suggest that through the ages, religion has done at least as much harm as it has done good.
it has been my experience that at the lowest level one finds many outstanding people. However, as soon as they organize, whether it is as small as a condo board or as big as a government, the worst seems to come out of people.
I still haven't figured this one out yet. Do the good people stay away because they get tired of dealing with power hungry *****s (I know a few people for whom this would fit) or is it simply that the shiit floats to the top and then once there, they rig the system so that unless you are a back-stabbing SOB you have no chance of getting to a position of real authority?