A Siberian shaman has vowed to re-start his journey across Russia by foot to exorcise President Vladimir Putin after his arrest on extremism charges last month.
Gabyshev was detained on Sept. 19 — then flown back to his home city and released — in Far East Russia six months into his 8,000-kilometer journey to Moscow to cast out Putin, whom he called a demon. Gabyshev’s lawyer says the shaman, who faces criminal charges in his home city of Yakutsk of calling for extremism, was declared “insane” by psychiatric evaluators.
“Leave, Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], voluntarily. It will be good for Russia, for Yakutia, for the whole world,” Gabyshev said, addressing the president by video.
“No one will touch you. Not a hair will fall from you, not a drop of blood will be spilled… I will personally protect you,” Gabyshev promised in an interview with the Yakutia.info news website.
Gabyshev embarked on his odyssey from his native republic of Sakha to Moscow in March, predicting he’d reach the Russian capital in the summer of 2021. The Amnesty International NGO has declared Gabyshev a prisoner of conscience.
Gabyshev told The New York Times this week that his exorcism involves lighting a bonfire near the Kremlin wall on Red Square and feeding it horsehair and fermented mare’s milk. The ritual includes banging a leather drum and performing a prayer, after which Gabyshev said “Putin will come to his senses and quietly resign.”
“In him there is much evil, and he himself embodies the powers of evil, so an exorcism must be done,” he had said.