Russia is considering a ban on Manhunt and other violent videogames in the wake of a Moscow shooting that left six people dead.
30-year-old Dmitry Vinogradov killed six of his co-workers at Russian pharmacy chain Rigla last week, reportedly after his romantic advances toward a female colleague were spurned. Rigla reps said Vinogradov had "never shown any signs of psychiatric instability" and he'd also passed checks on his mental health as part of the process licensing him to own firearms, but he had reportedly been drinking for five days prior to the attack and posted a "misanthropic manifesto" on Russian social network vKontakte just hours before the rampage.
Even so, it soon came to light that Vinogradov was a fan of the infamous Rockstar classic Manhunt, and that was enough to lead politicians to call for a ban on the game and for stricter controls on all violent videogames. United Russia Deputy Sergei Zheleznyak called on Roskomnadzor (the Federal Surveillance Service for Mass Media and Communications) to ban the game outright, since its availability to children through the internet is against Russian law. Franz Klintsevich, another United Russia Deputy, supported the initiative but went even further, calling for "bloody games in general" to be restricted.
Russia is a little behind the times on this one; Manhunt is one of the most famously controversial videogames of all time, but it's also been kicking around since 2003. But the nation has also spent the last couple of decades grappling with rather more pressing problems than videogame ratings, so while conversations about age-appropriate gaming may seem old hat to most Western gamers, it's one that Russia is yet to have.
Vladimir Burmatov, the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education, called for an "interdepartmental commission" to supervise the sale of videogames. He also said that violent videogames were a factor in Vinogradov's decision to carry out the attack.