Alexander “Sasha” Gabyshev is a man with a mission, to exorcise Russian president Vladimir Putin and oust him from the Kremlin.
Gabyshev is a self-identified shaman who hails from Yakutia, Siberia, in the northernmost reaches of Russia. He began his odyssey in March, after deciding that the current head of the nation was a sorcerer whose power has demonic roots, spreading fear and depression throughout the country, according to Jam News.
The shaman has said that politicians are useless in this circumstance, and only witchcraft can be used to combat witchcraft.
He pledged to walk across Russia to Moscow and see the deed the done. The journey is about 8,000 kilometers, or just under 5,000 miles, and he estimated he would arrive in Moscow in the summer of 2021.
Once he arrives in Moscow he has a plan in place for how to achieve his goal, according to the Daily Mail. He intends to begin by using rallies and gatherings of Russian citizens to get his point across. He will move on to other methods if those types of “peaceful methods” fail to do the job.
The ritual he intends to use for the exorcism involves building a bonfire near the wall of the Kremlin in Red Square, and feeding it fermented mare’s milk and horsehair. Afterward, he will beat a leather drum while offering a prayer.
As he was making his trek, he spoke with many people along the way. Many people have taken videos of his conversations with the people he meets on his trip and have posted them to various social media platforms, raising his profile as more and more people have learned about his intent.
Some of those people became fierce supporters of his cause, and news about him began to spread.
People along his route offered him food, shelter, and money to help him on his way, and others decided him to join him on the pilgrimage. A report from Radio Free Europe says that by July he had reached the city of Chita and was accompanied by some 700 followers.
Many of those who support him say that it’s time for a new Russia, which is more focused on equality and is more open to the world.
Siberian shaman Alexander Gabyshev says he plans to re-start cross-country trek to “exorcise” President Vladimir Putin after his arrest last month https://t.co/qHkAR5jQNy
— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) October 11, 2019
Needless to say, his quest hasn’t made him popular with Russian leadership. On September 19th, about 2,000 kilometers into the trip, Gabyshev was grabbed and detained by a throng of armed special police forces wearing masks. He was in the Buryatia region of Siberia at the time.
Those forces shipped him back to Yakutia and he was put in a psychiatric facility, but was later released. The ostensible reason for his detention was that he was accused of inciting extremists against the government, and he was ordered to remain in Yakutia.
The examination he received while he was in the facility determined that he was insane and mentally unfit to stand trial. The opposition group Open Russia has indicated that it wants another assessment, using independent psychiatrists to get a clearer picture of Gabyshev’s mental capacity.
Interestingly, Gabyshev hasn’t actually been charged with a crime at present, he’s just been labelled a suspect and told not to leave town. He has, by the way, announced his intention to resume his trip as soon as he’s able but don’t expect Putin to be too concerned.
There have been shamans in Siberia for centuries, and they have played important roles in the culture by acting as healers and diviners. Despite the fact that they were stringently suppressed during the Soviet age of science and reason, the mystics were never successfully eradicated and their roles have been gaining prominence again in the remotest areas of Siberia.
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Whether he’s the white magician he calls himself or someone who’s suffering from delusions, it’s very clear that his thoughts and his mission have lit something in the hearts and minds of many Russians.