Vladimir Putin, the unchallenged champion of the Russia presidency, now has an opponent – a shaman.
March 6, 2019: The Journey Begins
Yakut shaman Alexander Gabyshev departed Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha Republic, on a divine mission to “expel Putin’s evil spirit from the Kremlin.” According to the fifty-one year old shaman’s divine sources, Putin is no man but a demon. Due to possible mistranslations between languages and belief systems, the words evil and demon might not be completely accurate or appropriate. Nevertheless, the shaman does believe that Putin is a manifestation of dark forces that must be banished to save Russia from ruin. The higher forces ordained his holy quest with an added condition: that he travel to Moscow – all 8,000 kilometers – on foot.
Of course on foot. Divinely inspired missions require the chosen human being to undergo a journey of epic proportion. He-she-they must face trials and tribulations, the brutal Russian winters…which may no longer apply due to global warming. So, that may be working in his favor. All the same, it wouldn’t make sense for the shaman to travel on a train, plane, or any kind of modern transportation. For good reason. He must rally the people in great numbers if he is to storm the Kremlin. It’s protected by an elite military regiment and has walls up to 21 feet thick. With manpower, supernatural power, the world awaits for the final showdown.
Winter is Coming
And like winter, will be waiting…for a while. Gabyshev Gabyshev expects to arrive in two years to destroy the Putin that rules them all.
With him are two trusted companions, his dog and friend. The Man friend is documenting the sacred trek on video. From roadside campsites, Gabyshev delivers passionate addresses and exchanges with strangers. Aided by the wide-spreading powers of technology, his mission has amassed a huge following in Russia. If you build it, they will come. And they are.
Journalists, bloggers have flocked to his side for short spurts of his arduous journey, listening to his inspired discourse on the dire state of the Russian nation. Hundreds have surfaced along the path with offers of moral and material support. Many have housed the shaman. As he gains more support from the people, Gabyshev is assuming the role of an opposition politician. Which Putin does not tend to like…
The Undefeated Putin
Flamboyant, controversial, funny, and committed practitioner of the craziest psychedelic martial art Systema – Putin is no softie. The unchallenged Putin has been in power for 20 years – except for those four years when “Dmitry Medvedev” was in power. But this shamanic voyage reflects a turbulent moment in Russia. Thousands of Russians in Moscow are protesting, outraged, that opposition candidates were barred from running in local elections. Tsk tsk Putin. Rage is on the rise over socio-economic issues, pension age, Siberian wildfires, and pollution in the North. Thus, the shaman could become a hero – a symbol – for a country at unrest.
Putin’s pubic image has shifted considerably in recent years. In February 2015, Putin won the coveted popularity contest. He ranked nomer odin as the most popular politician in the world! I bet you can guess what place that is.
In June 2015, his approval ratings reached an all-time high of 89%. The famous shirtless on horseback photograph was indeed published that same month and year. Proud Putin. Like politics, like fame, like having complete control over the media in general – the affection of the public may be wavering. This year, public trust has dropped to 33.4% though his approval rating still sits cushily at 60%.
Game of Supernatural Thrones
In the world of Harry Potter, Putin would be a Slytherin. That’s just a fact. Regardless of his Hogwarts House, Putin is no stranger to magical forces. It is known that Putin is superstitious, especially about the Jews. It’s complicated. In any case, who knows what instruments of magic he has lying about the Kremlin. He even has witches on his side.
A coven of Russian witches that call Russia “the Empire of the Most Powerful Witches,” gathered in a “circle of power” to protect Putin and defeat his enemies last February. In hooded black cloaks complete with prints of crowns the color of blood, they chanted and channeled their witchery to silence Putin’s enemies. And the ritual is believed to be one of the most powerful in all the Empire of Russia. Except their sorcery apparently could not stop nor silence the shaman, who breezed out of his hometown the following month. No supernatural storms, Black Riders, psychedelic beasts, Whitewalkers. The shaman continues on quite comfortably, and fervently spreads his message all over youtube.
Which can only mean that the witches power is weakening. Has the purity of their power been tainted by greed?
The Russian witches are not just in it for Putin. They are trying to capitalize on Putin’s popularity, marketing magic in a get-rich quick scheme. If it works, it works? In April 2019, new data surfaced that suggested 80% Russians are struggling to make ends meet. Unclear what’s going on over there, but the witches are taking matters into their own hands–using Putin to cash in big.
The Challenger Advances
Gabyshev arrived at the city of Chita on July 12th. He addressed 700 people in the city square – some were supporters, others confused spectators – urging them to free themselves from Putin’s control. The Russian Orthodox rebutted with a holy sanction – provocateur! –and speculated about the shaman’s mental health. Cast the first stone. That’s a strange allegation to toss around, all things considered. As musician Artemy Troitsy wrote in a column on July 28th: “Putin’s entourage always heads to Bari in private jets to see the relics of St Nicholas the miracle maker.”
“But.” Troistky continued, “…miracle makers, blessed and holy fools have always held authority in Russia, especially in hard times.”
“And nobody loves poetry like a Russia,” said Dr. Zhivago.
What will Putin Do? What will the Shaman Do?
On Aug. 18, the shaman reached the Republic of Buryaha and he’s planning on upping the ante. With his sights on bigger cities, larger crowds, what will Putin do? Putin is nearing the end of his second consecutive term as President, which means he can’t technically run for President again. Many are suspicious of the tricky tactics Putin may pull in order to slither around this technicality. But who cares? Does Putin care?
Will Putin allow this divine pilgrim to actually reach the Kremlin gates? We know that Putin isn’t exactly discrete about eliminating – in a biblical sense – his enemies and opponents. He doesn’t seem he needs witchery for that, but there is something oddly troubling about the thought of Putin as Macbeth – consulting his witches – as his thirst for power corrupts his soul to the point of no return. What makes him different than over half the leaders out there? Don’t know. In any case, perhaps the gods are stepping in to put an end to the shenanigans–DEUX EX MACHINA style.
If it’s going to take two years for the shaman to reach Moscow, Putin has some time to strategize his counter-attack. But he may need to call upon his own supernatural allies if he hopes to stand a chance against the shaman. Gabyshev is aiming for a revolution—overthrowing the government by force of numbers and divine intercession. He and his spiritual entourage may prepare to meet Putin with force, as times ahead might call for less peaceful measures.
Your move Putin.