Here’s what we know about the Siberian shaman who set out to battle Putin’s evil spirit, and how police finally got to him

For half a year, Yakutsk resident Alexander Gabyshev had been walking on foot toward Moscow, thousands of miles and six time zones west of his hometown. Gabyshev describes himself as a “warrior shaman,” and he plans to defeat “Putin the Demon” at the conclusion of his journey. Along his path to Moscow, the shaman gave speeches at multiple protests, attracted a group of companions who walk with him along Russia’s highways, and became a subject of energetic discussion and meme production nationwide. On September 19, officials arrested Gabyshev and sent him for a brief psychiatric evaluation. He also reportedly faces felony extremism charges. These developments have prompted leading newspapers around the world to write about Gabyshev. Meduza is also looking at this man’s story and the life events that led him to where he is now.

FSB Academy official is sentenced to four years in prison for stealing and selling off the school’s computer parts

A senior technician at the Federal Security Service’s Academy has been sentenced to four years in prison for stealing and selling off computer parts. According to the newspaper Kommersant, warrant officer Airat Khairullin spent two years working in the FSB Academy’s foreign-languages department, where he disassembled hundreds of computers and sold the components through free classified ads on the websites Youla and Avito. 

‘Here’s the evidence — you’re gay’. Russian student disciplined after university officials find LGBTQ group in his social media subscriptions

Two local news sources, Eurasian News (EAN) and Yekaterinburg Online, reported on September 17 that Ural State Economic University (UrGEU) was planning to expel a student whom administrators suspected of being gay. The student had subscribed to notifications from an LGBTQ group on the social media network VKontakte. Regional government officials have criticized UrGEU’s leadership, and an LGBTQ organization has asked prosecutors to determine whether the university broke any laws. UrGEU officials responded to the backlash against them by saying they did not, in fact, plan to expel the student in question. However, they confirmed that they actively oppose student involvement in LGBTQ groups.

Russians increasingly turn to online calls, as ‘blocked’ Telegram rapidly gains users

A new study by the professional services network Deloitte, reported by Kommersant, found that instant messengers are the most popular smartphone apps in Russia, as Russians pivot increasingly to making online rather than traditional phone calls. More than half of the study’s respondents (53 percent) say they’ve started using these Internet services more often in the past year. Overall, researchers found, as many as 35 percent of all calls in Russia are now made through online messengers.