Last month, a grown man in fluffy Pikachu jammies performed a manic routine from Hell on Russian state-controlled Channel 1, complete with Pokébabes and Pokéhunks dancing with giant prop iPhones, half-twerking and bouncing about on blow-up Pokéballs. This Kawaii Carnival horror show was performed by renowned Russian pop and opera-pop star Nikolay Baskov at the big deal "New Wave" international music competition. It's kind of like Eurovision, but messier.
The song was about love.
"I will hug you, hard. I will hug you, passionately.
There is no one in the world more beautiful than you.
There is no one in the world more wonderful."
The audience seems delighted by this spectacle. At the grand finale, Baskov pops open his yellow fuzzy suit to reveal a black T-shirt with "Catch Me" written in cyrillic Comic Sans before being vigorously gifted bouquets of flowers.
Generally, the Pokemon GO phenomenon has been met with a mixture of excitement and distrust in Russia. To quote one particularly colourful statement on the matter from a government official: "It feels like the devil arrived through [Pokemon GO] and is trying to tear our morality apart from the inside. We need to take people out of the virtual world, and this generally smacks of Satan."
Reader, for the first time in decades of criticising the Russian government, I agree about the Satan part.