22-year-old Russian blogger convicted for playing Pokemon Go inside a church

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/11/22-year-old-russian-blogger-co.html

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This all might have been resolved quickly if they’d learned he said “Shirtless Ex-Spook Autocrat, I choose you!”

If that’s the church I think it is, the same one where Pussy Riot was arrested, then it’s a very dangerous place to mess around in. That particular cathedral in Moscow has a lot of crazy baggage associated with it for the right-wing ultra-nationalist authoritarians who form the base of Putin’s popular support.


Exactly. I hold no brief for right wing quasi religious nationalist authoritarians (the “ultra” isn’t needed), but really this sort of thing reminds me of the old joke:

What do you call a parrot with a machine gun?
Pretty Polly, Sir.

If you are going to try to change the system or take on fascism, it’s a good idea to choose your battlefield. Stalin asked “How many battalions has the Pope?” “How many people playing Pokemon Go in church does it take to turn Russia into a modern democracy?” is perhaps somewhat similar.


[quote]The judge pointed out that the 22-year-old video blogger was on trial not only for playing the game in the church but also for posting several videos that offended believers. She listed “mockery of the immaculate conception,” ''denial of the existence of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad" and “giving an offensive description of Patriarch Kirill,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.[/quote]haha but pokemon tho amirite?

If he was already in trouble for the other videos perhaps he thought he might as well go for broke and bring Pokemon Go into it, as it highlights the absurdity of the other charges. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be talking about the arrest of an atheist dude by an authoritarian nationalist regime that’s allied itself with a religious fundie church.


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That shifting graphic makes me think, “Two sides of the same coin.”


Reminder of what happens if you give organised christianity any sort of actual power in a society. Don’t be fooled Europeans, our church is mostly placid now only because it has been defanged in long and bloody struggles.


The author failed to mention that the guy also edited the church singing into cursing and filled it with some anti-religious insults. The pokemon-going itself caused no problems, it was his further promo that got him sentenced. So basically he is convicted for jumping out of pants to dick-slap those dumb believers. Not being a religious person myself, I still can’t see why such behaviour should be tolerated or how this could be the freedom of will or speech or whatever.

No, it’s Yekaterinburg - one of the largest cities in Syberia, somewhat 900 miles from Moscow. also, you’re not quite right about the base of Putin support, but who cares anyway

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Thanks for the clarification on the church and city.

I was perhaps too harsh in describing Putin’s base – a lot of Putin’s authoritarian supporter base is, as Enkita points out, nationalist rather than ultra-nationalist (though I’m sure there are plenty of Dugin acolytes in there, too). Either way, the cynical deal between Putin and the Church is meant in part to cement the nationalism.

Finally, welcome to BoingBoing, comrade!


There are a bunch of Ingress portals around the church, so it’s probably good Pokemon Go hunting.


If your church ignores what your messiah told you to do and instead does the opposite, you’re the one who hates your religion. No one disobeys Christ as consistently as Christians.

American fundies will be creaming themselves over this story until they realize the Orthodox Church is the other one in the most original sense of their vast infighting cult. And the Ruskies aren’t planning to help Catholics and Protestants. Heck, they outlawed Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Very few things are worse than religion taken over by a parasitic government to use as a puppet. Unfortunately a crazy moron with the launch codes for the largest nuclear arsenal in the world is one of them, lest I sound like I’m saying we have the moral high ground.


The takeover of Russian Orthodoxy by government long predated Putin. To get the slightest flavour of it, I suggest getting one of the DVDs of Boris Gudunov which actually shows well just how the Tsars and the Church were linked in the public mind. It’s an interesting experience.

The US (despite its own policy of separation of Church and State) opposed “Godless Communism” without having a clue as to why the Communist attitude to the Church was so appropriate. The ROC was the hinterland of the Tsars.

And now it has recovered its power and influence and it isn’t clear whether Putin or the ROC is in fact the leader in the relationship. Some of Putin’s own remarks suggests that putting up with nonsense like this is the price of the votes that the ROC commands. Since so many men died prematurely, the babushka vote is very important indeed.


Yeah - when are Manichaeans going to get recognised by blasphemy laws?

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Nah; only a minority of fundies really care about the details of their doctrinal disputes. So long as the Russian Church is white and bigoted, the US fundies will be happy to ally.

The US religious right is primarily a white supremacist movement. The Christianity is an incidental tribal marker, not the core belief.


I am aware but…

Although I’m a devout atheist, I partially disagree with this, depending on whether you mean communism or the USSR’s perversion of it. Stalin’s Russia was one of the few times and places in history when all religious practice was persecuted as it was seen as a competitor to Stalinism. Marx’s attitude toward religion was less extreme, more along the lines of wishful thinking that it would wither away once communism removed the reasons people clung to it, but Stalin was of course as you know no Marxist.

True, but it doesn’t go the other way. But I take your point, gotta temper my expectations of the fundie capacity for self-awareness.

If I was gay, and the head of the Russian Church blamed me for all that is wrong in this world, I’m not really sure that I would accord any respect whatsoever to his “religious” beliefs.

In fact, just as a fellow human being, I’m offended.


Notice I used big-C Communism which is the usual way of distinguishing between the Soviet Party and communism.

If you study the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Tsarist era you will pretty quickly realise that any progressive Russian government would have suppressed the Church if possible. It wasn’t the kind of body that understood peaceful co-existence. Marx didn’t think communism would happen in Russia so he didn’t really consider the issue.
Look up the concept of Pravoslavie - “true believers” and realise that no amount of Communist brainwashing could hope to achieve the level of conditioning achieved by the ROC. It was a level of backwardness comparable to the Tibetan perversion of Buddhism.

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