Support The Moscow Times!

Siberian Police Stop Witch Burning

In an unexpected incident worthy of the Spanish inquisition, a couple in eastern Siberia decided their acquaintance was a witch and attempted to burn her alive, though police stopped the impromptu auto-da-fe.

The rescue came not a moment too soon, as the couple were at that moment forcing the alleged witch headfirst into a burning stove in an abandoned building, Zabaikalsky region police said Thursday.

The 46-year-old victim was hospitalized with severe burns to her face and hands, police said in a statement.

The culprit was a 41-year-old local woman who was aided by a male acquaintance, the report said, without releasing their names.

The duo, who both had criminal records, reportedly came to the conclusion that the other woman was a witch while discussing her during a drinking session.

They then headed to her house and kidnapped her in order to exorcize the devil from her through fire. However, a visitor to the victim's house found traces of a struggle and alerted the police.

An investigation has been launched into the incident. Meanwhile, the female accuser has been admitted to a psychiatric ward.

It remained unclear what had prompted the witchcraft allegations.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.