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Colleagues Defend Russia’s ‘Pokemon Go’ Blogger Listed Alongside

Russian Internet personalities have rallied to defend a blogger convicted of hate speech for a video in which he played Pokemon Go in a church rapidly after being placed on professional authorities listing designated terrorists and extremists.

Colleagues Defend Russia's 'Pokemon Go' Blogger Listed Alongside 3

The video, published July 16 on the popular YouTube channel of St. Petersburg-primarily based blogger Danila Poperechny, came days after it emerged that Ruslan Sokolovsky had been added to an official listing of “terrorists and extremists” maintained through Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service.

Sokolovsky, 22, was convicted in May of inciting hatred and insulting believers’ emotions with videos mocking religion that he posted on his YouTube channel, including one displaying him playing Pokemon Go in a Russian Orthodox Church.

His conviction and months suspended sentence induced massive grievance from rights activists and discussions about publicly professing one’s atheism is a crime in Russia, where the Orthodox Church’s impact has, step by graduallyelow President Vladimir Putin’s 17 years in strength.


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In his attraction to the Russian government, Poperechny referred to Sokolovsky’s listing of known terrorists — including one concerned with the 2004 Beslan school assault — as absurd. He implored lawmakers and officers to amend “fuzzy” anti-extremism laws long criticized via rights watchdogs as overly broad and to cast off Sokolovsky’s call from the listing.

“Ruslan did not even name for [religious believers] to be killed. He did not prepare any nonsecular persecutions. He honestly expressed his opinion on his YouTube channel. And, of a path, published a video in which he performed a sports inner of a church,” Poperechny stated.

“Do you recognize how dangerous this person is on a government scale?” he added paradoxically.

The video, which garnered over 400,000 views on YouTube a day after it was published, became supported by eight popular Russian bloggers. The institution has a cumulative audience of 17.5 million people, the Russian online information website TJournal calculated.

‘Harsh And Unpragmatic’

Senior Russian officials this year have publicly fretted over whether or not the authorities are efficaciously reaching young people who largely appear to the Internet and social networks for data about what’s happening inside you. S ..

Those issues had been amplified with the aid of national protests organized via Russian competition leader Aleksei Navalny, who has deftly used his digital presence to construct a youthful and constant following along with his anti-corruption crusading.

On July 17, Navalny praised the video supporting Sokolovsky that Poperechny and his fellow bloggers posted, calling it “incredible.” In May, Russia’s decreased House of Parliament invited a famous video blogger, Sasha Spielberg, to talk at a listening to dedicated to young people’s politics. In her speech, which critics called in large part toothless, Spielberg was known as Sokolovsky, “an idiot” who has to be “dealt with or fined,” however, he is no longer prosecuted.

“Prosecuting human beings like this is harsh and unpragmatic,” she stated. “And it surely does not engender trust amongst young people.”

While Sokolovsky was on the respectable list of terrorists and extremists, it is unclear. Aleksei Bushamkov, a lawyer for the blogger, wrote on Facebook on July 14 about his client’s designation, pronouncing that each of Sokolovsky’s bank bills had been frozen.

The kingdom-run TASS information corporation quotes Sokolovsky as saying that “all of my [bank] playing cards are blocked”; however,  he no longer understands why.

Sokolovsky, whose sentence was reduced by more than a year, is one of numerous Internet users convicted of hate speech and other violations in Russia in recent years based totally on social media posts and different online content material.

Rights organizations have accused the government of wearing out a broad crackdown on online speech that has ensnared humans exercising constitutionally blanketed speech.

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