One Russian parliament hopeful has enlisted a rather unusual method to get young people out to the polls – a map showing where Pokémon GO fans can play the game near voting stations in her Moscow constituency.
Maria Baronova is a candidate in the Russian State Duma elections this Sunday, a coordinator for the “Open Russia” human rights initiative, and known for her opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
She launched the map project in an attempt to enliven a rather subdued campaign season and motivate players to vote, amid a trend for low voter turnout in Russian elections.
“Legislation, the fight against the HIV epidemic, rolling back the criminalisation of thought crimes — this won’t happen in a day,” she stated in a Facebook post. “But you can catch a Pokemon right away on 18 September.”
According to Ms Baronova, the gaming sensation has already had a “huge impact on the socio-political landscape” in Russia. “They’re even imprisoning people and forbidding them from searching in places where you can find the rarest Pokémons,” she posted, making reference to the case of Ruslan Sokolovsky, a Yekaterinburg-based blogger awaiting trial on charges of extremism after publishing a video showing him playing Pokémon GO inside a cathedral.
Ms Baronova was keen to stress, however, that she in no way recommends voters to break the law by playing the game inside polling stations on Sunday.
“We’re just getting out the vote!” she said in an interview with The Moscow Times. “I’m not even campaigning for myself here, but for the elections themselves. If somebody wants to vote for United Russia [the political party currently in power], then let them.”
If you’re looking for more tips on where to catch Pokémon, check out The Calvert Journal‘s handy guide.
Source: The Moscow Times