Although "Pokémon Go" hasn't been officially released in Russia, fans there have already discovered ways to play the insanely popular mobile game, leading government officials and nationalist groups to sound the alarm -- and call for a ban.
While a Russian communications watchdog has expressed concern about the personal data the app collects and stores from players, some are more worried about its possible corrupting influence. Still others look at Pikachu & Co. and see a potential conspiracy hatched from the West ... or from hell itself.
“It feels like the devil arrived through [Pokémon] and is trying to tear our morality apart from the inside,” said. Frants Klintsevich, a member of Russia's upper chamber of parliament. According to The Moscow Times, the leader of the ultra-conservative Cossack group also evoked the underworld, saying, “We need to take people out of the virtual world, and this generally smacks of Satan."
However, where they see the work of the devil, Russia's Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov detects the delicate touch of the CIA. "“I’m starting to suspect that intelligence services might have contributed to this app,” he said.
The state consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has been ordered to investigate the “possible harmful psychological effects” of "Pokémon Go." However, it's unclear whether anyone has been tasked with ferreting out the game's potential satanic roots.