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'Jesus Is A Rare Pokemon?' Key Quotes From Russian Blogger's Guilty Verdict

  • RFE/RL

Ruslan Sokolovsky received a 3 1/2-year suspended sentence in part for a profanity-laced video in which he played Pokemon Go in a church.

The conviction of Russian "Pokemon" blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky has been denounced by critics as an assault on free speech and the separation between church and state.

Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg found Sokolovsky guilty on May 11 of inciting hatred and insulting religious believers' feelings with YouTube videos.

The avowed atheist received a 3 1/2-year suspended sentence in part for a profanity-laced video in which he played Pokemon Go in a church.

The verdict will likely provide more ammunition to those who say the right to free expression is being whittled away in Russia -- particularly where religion is concerned.

Here's a look at some of the evidence Shoponyak cited in her verdict against Sokolovsky, and some excerpts gathered by RFE/RL's Russian Service, Russia's independent Dozhd TV, and the news website Znak.com.

According to the verdict, Sokolovsky

-- "denies the existence of Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammed."

-- showed "demonstrative disrespect to the church, its clergy, and Jesus, who was called a rare Pokemon."

-- engaged in a "mocking reinterpretation of the situation of the immaculate conception."

-- "imbued Jesus Christ with the characteristics of a zombie."

-- "is of the firm belief that people of faith, by nature, are dumb and brainwashed. Sokolovsky wants everybody else to have the same opinion."

-- "insult[ed] the feelings of the Christian and Islamic faithful by denying the existence of God."

-- "imbu[ed] [Russian Orthodox] Patriarch Kirill with degrading and disparaging characteristics."

-- "using metaphors, aggressively creates a negative image of believers."

-- "insulted a great number of feelings of various social groups not only verbally, but also with active facial motions."

-- gives "the impression that lawlessness and obscurantism reign in Russia, and that only a degraded society could live in such conditions."

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