A psychiatric examination has determined that a Yakut shaman who was detained last month while walking from Siberia toward Moscow with the declared aim of "driving [President Vladimir] Putin out of the Kremlin" is mentally unfit to face trial.
A human rights coordinator at opposition group Open Russia, Valentina Dekhtyarenko, told RFE/RL on October 3 that Aleksandr Gabyshev's lawyers want their client to be examined by independent psychiatrists.
Experts with whom the group spoke said they doubted the official psychiatric exam’s results, while Dekhtyarenko said she was promised access to the exam’s findings by October 5.
Although Gabyshev is a suspect in a criminal case, he has not been officially charged with any crimes yet, but was ordered not to leave his native city of Yakutsk, she said.
Gabyshev had covered more than 2,000 kilometers by foot since his journey began in March, speaking with hundreds of people along the way.
As his profile rose, videos of his conversations with people appeared on social media, attracting millions of views.
In July, when reaching the city of Chita, Gabyshev gathered some 700 people under the slogan "Russia without Putin!" The shaman said that "God told me Putin is not a human, but instead a demon and has ordered me to drive him out."
On September 19, dozens of masked and armed special police force troops detained Gabyshev in the Siberian region of Buryatia. The authorities later transferred him to his native Yakutia, where he was first placed in a psychiatric clinic and later released.
Gabyshev was told he was suspected of inciting extremism among Russian citizens and ordered not to leave Yakutia's capital, Yakutsk.
Shamans have served as healers and diviners in Siberia for centuries. During the Soviet age of "science and reason," the mystical figures were harshly repressed. But in isolated regions of Siberia, they are regaining importance.