Siberian shaman arrested again on trek to ‘exorcise’ Putin – The Guardian

Siberian shaman arrested again on trek to ‘exorcise’ Putin – The Guardian

Alexander Gabyshev says he wants to rid Russia of the ‘demon’ president




Alexander Gabyshev was detained by police on a highway in Siberia on Tuesday.
Photograph: Warrior Shaman Alexander Gabyshev/Facebook

A Siberian shaman who says he wants to rid Russia of the “demon” Vladimir Putin has been detained by authorities after making a new attempt to trek across the country, rights activists have said.

Accompanied by two companions and four dogs, self-styled shaman Alexander Gabyshev set out from his native Yakutia in Russia’s north on Sunday after his first journey was cut short in September. He was detained by police on a highway on Tuesday, according to the human rights advocacy group Pravozashchita Otkrytki, which has been tracking his case.

The rights group released video footage of what it said was Gabyshev’s arrest on the snow-covered road, which depicted numerous policemen and several police cars with flashing lights at the scene. Gabyshev has been accused of making public calls to carry out extremist activities, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

Alexei Pryanishnikov, a coordinator for the rights group, said he expected the authorities to formally charge Gabyshev after the arrest. “He was detained on the orders of an investigator,” he told AFP.

Gabyshev began his first trek in March, dragging a cart containing his belongings. He planned to reach Moscow by 2021, but was detained in September on the shores of Siberia’s Lake Baikal having walked about a third of the way.

After his first detention, he was sent to a psychiatric ward for evaluation and experts found that he was “not of sound mind”, the rights group has said.

Gabyshev’s eccentric bid to walk from his home city of Yakutsk to Moscow, a distance of more than 8,000km (5,000 miles), saw a group of followers join him on the way.

His simply expressed statements about Putin have captured public attention, prompting opposition protests as well as reports on pro-Kremlin television.

Pryanishnikov said that for the authorities the shaman’s attempts to oust Putin was not a joke. “The regime and law enforcement agencies take the occult, shamanism and witchcraft seriously,” he said.


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