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Moscow Authorities to Launch Their Own Version of Pokemon Go

Moscow City Hall

Moscow City Hall has announced the launch of its own version of online game “Pokemon Go.”  Russians will be asked to find and "catch" historical figures in the streets of the capital via an app called “Know Moscow.Photo.”

The game, which is due to be released in August, will use the augmented reality technology of “Pokemon Go,” to allow users to capture historical characters on real-life backgrounds with their smartphone cameras. “By the end of August, people will be able to catch and take a selfie with [deceased Russian rock musician] Viktor Tsoi, Yury Gagarin, Alexander Pushkin, Pyotr Chaikovsky, [founder of the first Russian university] Mikhail Lomonosov, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and the tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich,” the Moscow government website announced Monday.

“Pokemon Go,” the latest online game by Nintendo, went viral days after it was released in the United States, Australia and New Zealand on July 6. Its official release in Russia has been postponed indefinitely due to server capacity problems, although thousands of Russians have downloaded the game using accounts registered abroad.

“Pokemon Go” has been subject to criticism from both pro-Kremlin politicians and traditionalist forces in Russia. Some officials have condemned the app as “dangerous” and “eroding morale,” while several patriotic organizations called for the game to be banned. State-owned television channel Rossiya 24 also recently aired report explaining how Russians could be committing criminal offenses while playing the game.

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