Saturday, August 31, 2019

Shamans Face Off over Putin in Buryatia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 30 – Aleksandr Gabyshev, the Sakha shaman warrior who is on a mission to Moscow to exorcise the evil spirit Vladimir Putin, was blocked at one point in Buryatia this week by other shamans who demanded that he stop calling himself a shaman but then was received with honor and respect on two other occasions by other Buryats.

            Gabyshev began his march toward Moscow on March 6, and on July 12, he assembled a crowd of 700 people in Chita, telling them that he plans to continue his walk until reaching the Russian capital sometime late next year or in early 2021 unless the Russian people rise and exorcise Putin on their own.

            What occurred in Buryatia in  this slow news week has attracted some media attention (, and, but it should come as no surprise.

            There are numerous shamans in Russia, but some of them routinely denounce others as fakes and demand that they stop referring to themselves as shamans either because they do not follow the same traditions, lack a credible origin or differ in their relations with the secular powers. (On this, see

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