A Russian deputy wants to ban ‘Minecraft’ for its violent influence on teens. He may have confused it with ‘World of Warcraft.’
Vladimir Reinhardt, a deputy in the Krasnoyarsk Krai Legislative Assembly, stated on May 23 that the popular construction video game Minecraft should be banned. Reinhardt, who represents the ruling United Russia party, spoke out against the game just before the deputies were scheduled to hear a speech from the region’s lead children’s rights official, Irina Miroshnikova.
Reinhardt, 61, said that he had visited a children’s library the day before and seen young people playing Minecraft on their smartphones. “You understand, we simply have to ban these games, these sites. And then we won’t have this hyperactiveness. Because — what does this game Minecraft propagandize? The answer couldn’t be simpler: violence. That’s why this hyperactiveness happens,” the deputy argued.
Russian video game experts criticized the regional parliamentarian’s position. Yekaterina Galanina, who studies the cultural effects of video games at Tomsk Polytechnic University, noted that Minecraft involves practically no violence at all and said the game can be a healthy outlet for children.
Vitaly Milonov, a State Duma deputy for United Russia, called Minecraft a “nearly harmless” game and joked that Reinhardt may have lashed out after encountering difficulties in the game itself. “Just couldn’t pass that next level? It happens. I feel for him,” Milonov quipped.
Meanwhile, users of the Russian social media site VKontakte organized a petition calling for Reinhardt to be “fired.” “This country should be led by sensible people,” wrote gamer Dmitry Aksenov, who wrote the text of the petition. In an interview with the independent television station Dozhd, he explained that he “was frustrated, like many fans of the game, by that deputy’s groundless proposition.” The petition had gathered almost 23,500 signatures at the time of this writing.
Tatiana Romashevskaya, one of Reinhardt’s aides, expressed bewilderment at the petition. “What kind of petition could this be? Are the people signing it fifteen-year-olds? Because their parents are doing the opposite, calling us… They’re saying that finally, someone is paying attention to this, this deserves our attention, we have to fight this somehow,” Romashevskaya said in an interview with the radio station Govorit Moskva.
Meanwhile, Krasnoyarsky Krai Legislative Assembly Press Secretary Vladimir Koretsky claimed that Reinhardt had hoped to ban the Warcraft series, not Minecraft. Reinhardt’s aide was unable to comment on that possibility, and the deputy himself has not yet clarified which game he had in mind. Unlike Minecraft, however, the Warcraft games are not available on mobile phones.
Translation by Hilah Kohen