By: Nick Gambino

In a true sign of the separation of church and state, a popular YouTube star in Russia named Sokolovsky, was arrested for playing Pokémon Go in a church. That’s right the man simply walked into a church with his smartphone in an attempt to capture augmented reality creatures and was arrested for it.

The video which is sitting at right around two million views shows Sokolovsky outside the Church of All Saints stating his intention to play the game inside the sacred halls. He claims this was an effort to challenge authority and show that such a simple act wouldn’t get him arrested.

Now the video was uploaded way back in August which is when police started investigating the young YouTuber according to The Guardian. Apparently, it takes about nine months to give birth to a ridiculous idea like arresting someone for being juvenile.

Even the mayor of Yekaterinburg where the “crime” took place, Yevgeny Roizman, has his doubts on the legitimacy of the arrest. “You can’t arrest a man for idiocy,” he states, calling it a “disgrace.”

Sokolovsky is being charged with inciting hatred or enmity, as well as abasement of human dignity. This is per Article 282 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code which is an actionable offense. The same grounds were used for the arrest of two members of Pussy Riot back in 2012 for which they served two years in prison.

As of right now he’s being detained for two months but faces up to five years in prison. Meanwhile the hashtag #FreeSokolovsky is underway on Twitter and elsewhere as people across the world join in on the global “Huh?”

It’s one thing to say, “Hey man, can you not do that?” But it’s another thing entirely to undergo a nine-month investigation resulting in the arrest, two-month detainment and possible five-year prison sentence of a 21-year-old playing a game. That is what we call in the industry “overkill.”

What are your thoughts on Sokolovsky’s arrest for playing Pokémon Go in a church? In favor or against, let us know your thoughts below.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.