Support The Moscow Times!

Pokemon Go Blogger Sokolovsky Released From Jail

A judge in Yekaterinburg has agreed to release Ruslan Sokolovsky, the blogger jailed for playing Pokemon Go in a cathedral, and place him under house arrest. Sokolovsky will stay at the home his attorney, Stanislav Ilchenko, where he will be barred from using the Internet and telephone.

Sokolovsky was arrested for a series of videos he uploaded to YouTube last week, which police believe to be "extremist" and "offensive to religious sensibilities." He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The 21-year-old blogger’s most infamous video, which has made him an online celebrity in Russia, shows him entering the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg and playing Pokemon Go on his iPhone throughout the cathedral. In post-production, Sokolovsky added narration that police say is illegally “ironic” and “obscene.” In a short speech at the beginning of the video, Sokolovsky says he rejects warnings reported in the media that playing Pokemon Go in churches could result in a prison sentence.

Investigators said that they had pushed for Sokolovsky’s pretrial incarceration as his lack of a proper registration and formal employment made him a flight risk.

Russian Orthodox Church officials previously indicated that they would lobby for Sokolovsky’s release from jail, but later withdrew the offer when the blogger refused to apologize for his films.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.