Saturday, October 5, 2019

‘For the Shaman!’ Yakutsk Residents Protest Moscow’s Persecution of Gabyshev

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 3 – Moscow’s detention of Aleksandr Gabyshev, the shaman who was walking to Moscow to exorcise Putin from Russia, its confinement of him to a mental hospital where he was declared incompetent, and its opening of a criminal case against him have sparked a protest in Yakutsk in support of him.

            The demonstration, which had been approved in advance by city authorities, was organized by Sulustaana Myraan, a deputy in the local Il Tumen council.  Participants appealed for the protection of Gabyshev’s rights to “speak freely and without fear his opinion, move about the country, write on the Internet and assemble others peacefully and without arms” (

            The deputy told local media that Gabyshev’s rights had been violated during his arrest and psychiatric examination. She added that “if the law enforcement organs consider that someone has violated the law and that they are defending it … then be good enough to support all the norms of the law down to the last letter.”

            Otherwise, Myraan continued, “we who are following these processes have the right to consider that the individual is being persecuted for political reasons on orders from the authorities and to stand up in his defense. If someone wants to go for a march, this is his right under the freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution.”

            “If an individual considers himself a shaman,” she added, this too is “his right to freedom of conscience and belief to freely express, have and disseminate religious and other convictions and to act in correspondence with them. These rights too are guaranteed by the Russian Federation Constitution.”

Moreover, “if an individual wants to express his thoughts about the political and economic situation in the country, this is his right as guaranteed by the Constitution.” Myraan noted that “the guarantor of the Constitution is the president of the country,” Vladimir Putin. Officials have violated all these rights in Gabyshev’s case.

The people of Sakha will be following ever step the authorities make, she said, adding that in the future, his supporters plan more and larger demonstrations. Some in Moscow, including Aleksey Navalny, have also spoken out in defense of Gabyshev’s rights. 

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