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Ticked off over TikTok stunt: Russian teen faces jail after lighting cigarette in church with candle, Bishop asks for mercy

Ticked off over TikTok stunt: Russian teen faces jail after lighting cigarette in church with candle, Bishop asks for mercy
Russia's Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against an 18-year-old after he lit a cigarette using a church candle. The youth posted a video of the incident on TikTok, and could now face a possible prison sentence.

In July 2020, the youngster, along with another teenager, entered a cathedral in Chita, a city in Russia's Far East. In the video, the boy behind the camera can be heard saying: "This will be the crime of the year," before the other lights a cigarette with a candle in the middle of the church.

The teenager is accused of insulting the feelings of believers, and faces a fine of up to 500,000 rubles ($6,750), unpaid work, or imprisonment for up to three years. He has since apologized for his actions, claiming that he did it out of "stupidity," and that he "didn't want to offend."

Local Chita diocese head Metropolitan Dimitry has asked that the teenager be shown mercy, as he has asked the local congregation "for forgiveness" and appears to seriously regret his actions.

Russia's controversial law against "insulting people's religious feelings" was passed in 2013, following the fallout from the band Pussy Riot playing music in Moscow's main cathedral. In 2016, the law made international headlines after YouTube blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky was arrested for playing the then-popular game Pokemon Go in a church in Ekaterinburg.

Also on rt.com Luxury watch-wearing Russian Patriarch labels speculation about wealth of clergy ‘nonsense' as rocker Shnurov mocks him in verse

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