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Shaman who walked across Russia to exorcize Putin deemed unfit to stand trial in extremism case

An official panel of experts has found Alexander Gabyshev unfit to stand trial. Olga Timofeyeva, the attorney from Open Russia’s Human Rights Project who is representing Gabyshev, received the panel’s results from Yakutia’s regional FSB branch on October 3.

Timofeyeva said that she and her client would take time to familiarize themselves with the official analysis in the coming days before ordering a second, independent expert examination. The attorney said she believed the state’s brief, outpatient examinations of Gabyshev could not be sufficient to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Alexander Gabyshev, a shaman and Yakutsk resident, began walking across Russia in March of 2019 with the explicit aim of ridding the country of President Vladimir Putin, whom Gabyshev called a “demon.” After Gabyshev’s mission attracted a group of supporters and nationwide media attention, the shaman was arrested, sent in for a psychological examination, and charged with encouraging extremism.