Boy, 16, jailed for 5 years for 'virtual terrorist plot on Minecraft computer game'

Nikita Uvarov fell foul of his country’s terrorism laws with a “virtual bomb plot” to blow up a secret service building on the video game where players create their own worlds

Russia: 16-year-old jailed for Minecraft ‘terrorist plot’

A teenager has been jailed for five years in Russia for plans to blow up an FSB building on video computer children’s game Minecraft.

Nikita Uvarov was 14 when he fell foul of his country’s terrorism laws with a “virtual bomb plot” also involving two other boys.

In a military court, the schoolboy, now 16, said: “I am a child, not a terrorist”, while also claiming he faced “physical violence” after being detained.

Prosecutors alleged the teenagers went further than the virtual world by putting up posters in support of an anarchist accused of attacking the offices of United Russia, the Kremlin-backed ruling party.

Investigators searched Nikita Uvarov’s flat



It was after investigators seized their computers that they discovered they were using Minecraft – the world’s most popular video game allowing players to build their own 3D worlds – for the alleged attack on the FSB.

The FSB is Russia’s internal security service, once headed by Vladimir Putin, and formerly known as the KGB.

Uvarov and his friends from Kansk in Krasnoyarsk region, Siberia, were also accused of experimenting with real explosives and were training “for the purpose of further terrorist activites”.

Lawyers for the teenagers said they were playing in empty fields and had no intention of causing harm.

Uvarov’s lawyer told the boy in court: “Sorry I couldn’t set you free – I did everything in my power.”

The court made an example of Uvarov with the five year sentence which he will serve in an educational penal colony.

The other two boys – Bogdan Andreev and Denis Mikhailenko – were released on suspended sentences of three and four years ‘after cooperating with investigation’.

This pair had been under home arrest for two years ahead of the trial while Uvarov had been held in pre-trial detention.

His mother Anna, 44, said: “They instantly announced that he was detained, and handcuffed him.”

She said: “I did not understand that it was all that serious, or that it would be for so long and that there would be a prison term.”

Nikita Uvarov with his mother Anna Uvarova


Pavel Chikov/E2W news)

His family say he is a “smart” boy but during his court case – before sentencing – he told a local media outlet: “I am anxious and worried, I don’t know what to expect.

“There is a high probability there will be a real term, so I am ready for it.

“I deny that we were preparing terrorist attacks and some of the evidence that the investigation cites.

“We were threatened – we were not to confess – with prison and long terms.

“Physical violence was also used against me.

‘Once in the car I was slapped on the back of my head because one of the police officers didn’t like the fact that I used the term ‘pyrotechnics’, not ‘self-made explosives’ which is what he wanted to hear.

“Another officer squeezed my neck when I didn’t tell my name and surname.”

He told the court there was “repression” in Russia and alleged he was the victim of the “despotism of unscrupulous employees of the system”.

He vowed to serve his sentence with “a clear conscience and dignity”.

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