In a turn of events that should surprise nobody, Russian officials believe that Pokemon GO is evil and is having a destabilising effect on society.
The hugely popular mobile game still hasn’t actually been released in Russia yet, but that hasn’t stopped the Moscow government from casting all sorts of aspersions on the title.
The Moscow Times reports that Nikolai Nikiforov – the Russian government’s Communications Minister – suggested that the sinister secret purpose of Pokemon GO is to ‘collect video-information’ on behalf of intelligence services who have contributed to the app.
Frants Klintsevich, a member of Russian parliament, takes a more reserved approach:
It feels like the devil arrived through [Pokémon] and is trying to tear our morality apart from the inside.
Fair enough then Klintsevich, my old chum. Apparently the government has even commissioned Russia’s consumer rights agency to look into Pokemon GO’s potential ‘harmful, psychological effects’.
Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry has even got in on the action, putting out government approved safety guidelines for the game to protect those that become ‘disconnected from reality’.
To be fair, this part isn’t really so much of an overreaction – especially considering that (stupid) people across the world have already been shot, stabbed, ran over, and arrested as a result of playing Pokemon GO without paying attention.
Taking it one step further, Vladimir Puchkov, head of the Emergency Situations Ministry, announced classes on how to safely catch a Pokemon:
Our specialists of the State Fire Academy of Emercom of Russia have already prepared and distributed methodological recommendations of safety during the catching of Pokémons, have conducted master classes.
Despite not being fans of Pokemon GO, the government still understands that people want to get out there and play a cool new AR game.
That’s why Moscow City Hall will release its own patriotic version of the game, where players will catch Russian historical figures like Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible, instead of adorable Pokemon – sign me the fuck up.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.