Teens convicted of terrorism after plotting to blow up Minecraft building

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By Micheleen Martin | 1 hour ago

In Russia you better watch what you do Minecraft. You might be able to build whatever you want, but trying to take it apart is a whole different matter. Last Thursday, a Russian court convicted three Siberian teenagers of alleged terrorism. One of the terrorist activities they are accused of is plotting to blow up a virtual recreation of a Federal Security Services (FSB) building in the Minecraft.

The Moscow Times reports that Nikita Uvarov, Denis Mikhailenko and Bogdan Andreyev were originally arrested in 2020 – when the three teenagers were 14 – for publishing pamphlets in support of Azat Miftakhov, a self-proclaimed anarchist. The leaflets included slogans such as “the FSB is the main terrorist”. During their arrest, the teenagers’ phones were examined. Authorities found videos of the three making unspecified “pyrotechnics.” There were also videos of them throwing Molotov cocktails at walls, and teenagers plotting to blow up a virtual FSB building they had created in Minecraft.

Last Thursday, the Eastern Military Court in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, found the three teenagers guilty of “training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities” – that is, planning to destroy (but apparently not to actually destroy) a virtual building in Minecraft is potentially a crime in Russia. Denis Mikhailenko and Bogdan Andreyev received three and four year suspended prison sentences. Nikita Uvarov, meanwhile, was sentenced to 5 years in prison in a penal colony.

Minecraft

Judging by the different sentences, Uvarov appears to have been penalized more heavily because he refused to admit guilt. Mikhailenko and Andreyev both pleaded guilty, while Uvarov maintained his innocence and claimed he was subjected to “mental and physical pressure” to confess. the Minecraft playing the teenager claims that the construction of pyrotechnics and Molotov cocktails was in order to “learn something new”. Addressing the court on Thursday, Uvarov said: “I am not a terrorist, I am not guilty… I would just like to finish my studies, get an education and go somewhere far from here, somewhere where I don’t irritate anyone from the special services.”

Azat Miftakhov – the anarchist and mathematician whom the three teenagers allegedly posted leaflets for – was sentenced to six years in a penal colony last year for “hooliganism”. Specifically, Miftakhov was accused not of throwing a smoke bomb through the window of the office of United Russia – Russia’s ruling political party – but of handing the smoke bomb to the person who allegedly threw it. Miftakhov denied the charges, but authorities said an informant identified the anarchist by his “expressive eyebrows”. The undercover eyebrow whisperer apparently died of cardiac arrest before they could verify the information in court.

As ridiculous as it may seem to convict someone, among other things, of planning to blow up a building in Minecraft, this may not be the first or last time the LEGO-like world has had something to do with potentially destroyed real buildings. Last March, it was reported that Microsoft was selling “for three Bethesda” – or $22 billion – augmented reality goggles to the US military, from the same family of technology that creates the virtual world of Minecraft.

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