Russland: Sverdlovsk Region Court mitigates sentence for 'Pokemon catcher'

The Sverdlovsk Region Court has heard the appeal against the sentence handed down for Yekaterinburg blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky on the counts of offending religious feelings, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom on 7 July 2017. The court reduced Sokolovsky's suspended sentence from 3.5 years to two years and three months. It was reported earlier that Sokolovsky posted a video on the Internet in summer 2016 showing him catching Pokemon in the Church on the Blood, built on the site of the Ipatyev house, in the basement of which the family of the last Russian emperor was shot and killed in 1918.

The investigation determined that Sokolovsky had posted on YouTube nine video files which, according to expert evaluations, contain signs of the fanning of hatred or feud in the period between May 2013 and September 2016. Some of them were found by experts to insult the feelings of believers. Additionally, a 'spy' ball point pen was found in the blogger's apartment.

On May 11, the Yekaterinburg Verkh-Isetsky District Court gave Sokolovsky a suspended prison sentence of three years and six months. The court found that his correction is possible without real imprisonment. Sokolovsky was found guilty of nine counts of the fanning of hatred or feud and belittling a person's dignity, and seven counts of public actions expressing clear disrespect for society and committed for the purpose of insulting believers' religious feelings.

The sentence also said the young man had without authorization purchased a special technical device, a pen with a built-in video recorder, which was found in his apartment during the search, based on which he was found guilty of illegal turnover of such devices. The sentence handed down for Sokolovsky drew a broad public response. (Quelle:, 7. Juli 2017)