Being jailed as a terrorist for plotting to blow up a government building seems reasonable. That they do it because you were considering blowing up a building in a video game, it seems surreal. Unfortunately, something like it happened in siberia.
The story features Nikita Uvarov, a 16-year-old Russian teenager who was recently sentenced to five years in prison by a Siberian military court for “training for terrorist activities.” Such activities amount to planning to “blow up” a virtual building in Minecraft created by the FSB, Putin’s spy agency formerly known as the KGB.
According to media such as Guardianthere were two other defendants at trial, both acquitted of criminal charges that received suspended sentences because they cooperated with investigators.
Apparently, both Uvarov and two other teenagers they had been detained in 2020 in the Siberian city of Kansk. The reason, according to state media, was to distribute pamphlets in support of a Moscow mathematician and anarchist activist who was on trial for hooliganism. They also say that they put one of the brochures in a local FSB building.
Following that arrest, Russian authorities took their phones and found an exchange about plans to blow up an FSB building they had created in the popular block-building game Minecraft. Finally, and always through the story of the authorities, they also experimented with improvised explosive devices using them in abandoned buildings.
For all of this, they were charged, but while Andreyev and Mikhailenko pleaded guilty and later had their sentences suspended, Uvarov maintained his innocence and was later sent to prison.
The truth is that it is not entirely clear if the government’s argument is that the video game was used as a kind of virtual training exercise for real terrorist acts, or if these young people they simply intended to blow up Russia’s main national police agency.
Be that as it may, in his last words in court, reported by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Uvarov spoke about pressure from the authorities during the investigation and denied having plans to blow anything up. He pleaded not guilty and said that if he was sentenced to prison, he would serve it “with a clear conscience and with dignity. Y Last time in this court I want to say: I am not a terrorist,” the teenager declared.
According GuardianIt is not the first time in recent years that young Russians have received prison sentences on controversial terrorism charges. In August 2020, three young activists, who were accused of belonging to an anarchist group called “New Greatness”, were sentenced to prison for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Putin government. Four others received suspended sentences in a case brought by the FSB that supporters described as fabricated. [The Guardian]