Person of the Week: Aleksandr Gabyshev

Week-ending 5 June 2020

Photo: RFE/RL

Russia: Siberian shaman who marched against Putin must be immediately released from psychiatric hospital

Responding to today’s court decision according to which Aleksandr Gabyshev, a Siberian shaman who vowed last year “to purge” President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin, will remain confined to a psychiatric hospital, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said: “Following weeks of intensive police surveillance, Aleksandr Gabyshev was forcibly taken from his home where he was self-isolating, to a psychiatric hospital by a riot squad. When he demanded to be freed, he was pronounced to be ‘a danger to himself and others’, and now the court has sanctioned his confinement in the hospital based on a ‘medical’ opinion the conclusions of which are based on his political views. 

Source: Amnesty International, 2 June 2020

Siberian Shaman Who Sought To Drive Out Putin Sent To Psychiatric Clinic

YAKUTSK, Russia — A court in Russia has ruled that Aleksandr Gabyshev, a shaman in the Siberian region of Yakutia who gained notoriety in 2019 after declaring that he wanted to drive President Vladimir Putin from power, must be forcibly placed in a psychiatric clinic. Aleksei Pryanishnikov, a legal coordinator for the opposition group Open Russia, told RFE/RL that a court in the city of Yakutsk announced the decision on June 2. According to Pryanishnikov, the court’s decision was based on the medical conclusion of the central psychiatric clinic in Yakutsk, which said Gabyshev suffers from an “overestimation of his personality” because he expressed his intention to drive Putin out of the Kremlin. RFE/RL, 2 June 2020

Decision To Place Anti-Putin Shaman In Psychiatric Clinic Challenged

MOSCOW — A Siberian court ruling placing in a psychiatric clinic a Siberian shaman who gained notoriety for claiming to want to remove President Vladimir Putin from power has been challenged by several Russian lawmakers. Aleksandr Gabyshev was forcibly placed in a psychiatric clinic against his will after 20 officers from a special police unit of Russia’s National Guard stormed into his home in Yakutsk, the capital of the Siberian region of Yakutsk, on May 12 and detained him. Gabyshev’s lawyers said on May 26 that they filed a complaint with the European Court for Human Rights challenging their client’s being confined to a psychiatric clinic against his will and without a court ruling, which they said was illegal. He was briefly released on May 29, a day after his lawyer, Olga Timofeyeva, filed a complaint with the Yakutsk city court questioning the legality of his forced placement in the clinic. But a court in Yakutsk subsequently ruled on June 2 that Gabyshev must be confined to a psychiatric clinic. RFE/RL, 4 June 2020

Shaman Critical of Putin Loses Bid to End Enforced Psychiatric Treatment

MOSCOW — A Russian court on Friday rejected a challenge by a Siberian shaman critical of President Vladimir Putin who says he has been illegally incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital, his lawyer said. Alexander Gabyshev drew media attention when he set off last year on an 8,000-km (5,000-mile) walk to Moscow, a journey he said would culminate with him banishing the Russian leader, whom he described as a demon. The New York Times, 5 June 2020 [via Reuters]

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