Support The Moscow Times!

Anti-Putin Shaman Re-Committed to Mental Hospital

Shaman Alexander Gabyshev. Screenshot YouTube

A Siberian shaman has once again been committed to a mental hospital on the eve of his planned cross-country journey to expel Russian President Vladimir Putin from power, the hospital and activists said Wednesday.

Alexander Gabyshev, who has been placed in a psychiatric hospital twice in the past two years, announced in January plans to restart his crusade to “exorcise” Putin this spring. On Wednesday, Russian media showed footage of uniformed men arriving at his house near the city of Yakutsk and breaking down his front door.

“The Investigative Committee carried out an inspection and filed a report on the use of violence against government officials,” the Pravozashchita Otkrytki advocacy group announced Thursday.

Meanwhile, the mental hospital he has been committed to announced on its website that Gabyshev has been placed in involuntary confinement because he failed to appear for a monthly check-up.

“If a patient in need of active follow up refuses to continue treatment [...] doctors visit the patient’s home. When the patient refuses to open the door [...] police have an obligation to assist health workers,” it said.

“The patient is currently under the supervision of doctors at the clinic,” the Yakutsk regional mental hospital said.

Authorities committed Gabyshev after his sudden about face after his release from a psychiatric hospital in July 2020, when he pledged to stop trying to reach Moscow.

In an audio clip posted on YouTube on Jan. 9, Gabyshev was heard saying this time he plans to march toward the Russian capital on horseback sometime in March.

Rights groups condemned Russian authorities for Gabyshev’s involuntary confinement, comparing it to Soviet-era punitive psychiatry.

Read more