Russian teen gets 5 years over Minecraft bomb plot

A Russian court has sentenced three teens for terrorism, with one jailed for five years in a Siberian penal colony, after they allegedly plotted to blow up a building… in a video game.

The building of Russia’s Federal Agency of Security (KGB successor) on Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow

The building in question is the Federal Security Services (FSB) building, or at least the virtual version of it in Minecraft. The FSB houses the country’s security agency and main successor to the KGB.

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The trio – Nikita Uvarov, Denis Mikhailenko, and Bogdan Andreyev from Kansk in Siberia – were picked up in June 2020 when they were just 14 years old after they hung political leaflets on the actual FSB building, said the Moscow Times.

The leaflets called the agency a “terrorist” organisation and praised an anarchist mathematician who went to prison for six years for “hooliganism” when he allegedly broke a window on the same building and chucked a smoke bomb inside.

Once the authorities had the boys, they searched their phones where they found home videos of pyrotechnic play involving Molotov cocktails alongside evidence that the kids plotted to blow up the virtual Minecraft version of the FSB.

The teens were accused of violating criminal code of the Russian Federation Article 205.3, known as undergoing training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities, a crime that can earn someone up to 20 years in prison.

Mikhailenko and Andreyev pleaded guilty, while Uvarov protested his innocence. On Thursday, the 1st Eastern Military Court in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region found them all guilty, issuing Mikhailenko and Andreyev three and four-year sentences, and Uvarov five years in a penal colony.

In addition to a harsher sentence, Uvarov was kept in a pre-trial detention centre while the other two were placed under house arrest.

“I didn’t even know or think about the fact that pasted leaflets would lead to such incredible consequences,” said Uvarov in his final statement to the court, adding: “I am not a terrorist, I am not guilty in 205.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.”

Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time, immensely popular with children, and has over 140 million active users. Players roam the 3D virtual world mining blocks to build structures ranging from huts to the Eiffel Tower or FSB, and at times blowing them up. ®

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