According to the Washington Post on Sunday, April 30, 2017, a man could spend 3½ years in prison for playing Pokémon Go in a Russian church. Last summer, Ruslan Sokolovsky went into the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg and wandered around playing the game.

Sokolovsky didn't go to the church to join others in worship or to listen to a sermon. In fact, it wasn't even on a Sunday when he entered the church. Therefore, no services were going on. The blogger went into the church building and wandered around for another reason. He barely looked up as he walked around because his eyes were glued to his smartphone.

He was there to catch the characters on his Pokémon GO app.

Sokolovsky is an outspoken Atheist. In a video he later uploaded on YouTube, he is heard saying he did not catch the rarest Pokémon there because Jesus doesn't even exist. Therefore, he was not surprised.

Some in the area think it was a disgrace for the blogger to go into the church to play Pokémon Go because the church is sacred and holds special meaning because it is believed to have been built on the same site where the last czar of Russia, Nicholas II, was murdered along with his family on July 17, 1918.

How blogger was caught

The trend of playing Pokémon Go has died down a bit since it first started. Even so, Sokolovsky will be punished for playing the game in the church.

The Russian blogger probably would never have been caught if he had not posted his adventure on YouTube. He was charged only after Russian officials saw the footage three months later during the fall season. He can be clearly seen wandering around and playing the game among the sacred items in the Catholic church.

Inciting religious hatred

On the last day of the trial on Friday, April 28, prosecutors suggested that Sokolovsky should get a prison sentence of 3½ years for his crime of inciting religious hatred. The 22-year-old game player protested his requested sentence with the explanation that if he has to spend that much time in prison, his punishment outweighed the crime.

He compared his crime to those who had been jailed for many years under the leadership of Joseph Stalin for merely joking about communism. Slokolovsky called his proposed punishment savage and barbaric.

Reactions from others

Prosecutors are standing by their decision to imprison the Pokémon Go player. They and others have justified the blogger's arrest. However, others agreed with the atheist by saying the potential punishment is unconstitutional. They believe either the young man should not go to jail at all, or he should be given a much lesser sentence. He has already being detained for two months when he was first arrested. Some think that should have been punishment enough.

What do you think? Do you think Sokolovsky should be let off the hook, or do you think he should get the suggested prison time for wandering into the church to play Pokémon Go?