Skip to main content

This Russian Pokemon Go Copycat Has You Catching Something Totally Different Than Pokemon

Pokemon Go
(Image credit: Niantic Labs)

In most parts of the world Niantic Labs' Pokemon Go has players rounding up and collecting Pokemon of all different flavors from the 151 standard set. In Russia, they have a slightly different setup for their knock-off of Pokemon Go called Know Moscow.

According to, the Know Moscow app allows users to catch Russian historical figures. Yes, you will be able to go around and find Alexander Pushkin hiding in the bushes behind the local library. Maybe he'll even string together a few of his iconic poems after adding him to your collection? I'm sure you'll also have greats like Dimitri Shostakovich more than likely to catch, he might even give you a few hints on some classic tunes you'll want to listen to in your spare time.

I can only imagine that high-level Pokemon -- oops, I mean high-level historical Russian figures will be of the legendary type. I'm guessing Vladimir Lenin will be like Mew and Josef Stalin will be like Mew-Two? I'm guessing mid-tier types would be Leon Trotsky or Mikhail Gorbachev? Would there be teams that you can join in Know Moscow the way you can join teams in Pokemon Go? Would it be Leninists versus Marxists? Stalinists versus Bolsheviks? Would it be the Socialists versus the Communists? Who knows.

The whole _Know Moscow _app came from the Russian State as a counter to Pokemon Go because according to the consumer rights organization Rospotrebnadzor claimed that Niantic Labs' app could end up causing harmful "psychological effects". There are also reports from Russian state media peddling the fear-mongering we've seen from other outlets, stating that Pokemon Go is America's attempt at information infiltration into foreign territories and is actually a CIA psyops program.

It's like we're reliving the best parts of the Cold War all over again.

Niantic Labs has not released Pokemon Go into Russia yet since they've been dealing with server issues after launching the game in other territories. The apprehension about having Pokemon Go on Russian soil isn't an isolated incident. State media and some propaganda-peddling nationalists in China have also taken to saying the same thing about Nintendo's new app, calling it a CIA invasion tactic and that America's Central Intelligence Agency will use certain datapoints to discover secret military installations scattered about China.

It's a strange set of paranoia being promulgated by some media surrounding the intended launch of Pokemon Go in certain regions. The biggest issues most countries have had with the game is people not paying attention and getting into accidents... or even walking and wandering so far off the beaten path you end up in another country. There are also the few rare instances where the game has led users to a couple of dead bodies.

According to, Russia's foray into the GPS-oriented app game is basically an attempt to capture the appeal of the Pokemon brand but without the pesky worries about American infiltration. The article states that the Know Moscow app won't allow you to battle historical figures, just find and capture them.

The only thing I'm curious about is if you're out hunting bears in Russia and you're in a deep forested area, will you be able to capture a shirtless, bear-riding version of Vladimir Putin?

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.