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.
Moscow City Court Judge Yulia Manerkina decided on Friday to release Pavel Ustinov on his own recognizance, following a request from the District Attorney’s Office. Ustinov was recently sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for allegedly injuring a National Guardsman when he was arrested at a protest on August 3. Ustinov’s appeals hearing will take place on September 26.
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.
Dmitry Popelysh, who together with his twin brother stole more than 12 million rubles ($187,920) from various bank clients, has complained to federal investigators that he was forced into illegal hacker activity, a source who witnessed Popelysh’s courtroom testimony told the news agency RBC.
Alexander Gabyshev, the Yakut shaman who set out to travel on foot to Moscow, where he planned to “exorcise” Vladimir Putin’s spirit, has been sent for psychiatric observation, according to health officials in Yakutia. Police arrested Gabyshev at the border between Buryatia and the Irkutsk region on September 19.
In recent years, the Russian government has transferred the remains of 597 Japanese prisoners of war who died in Soviet labor camps back to Japan. Now, NHK reported, it has become clear that those remains are unlikely to belong to Japanese soldiers at all.
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.
Russian National Guard Director Viktor Zolotov has stated publicly that Pavel Ustinov, who was recently sentenced to 3.5 years for supposedly injuring a National Guardsman during his arrest, should be released from custody and sentenced to a year’s probation.
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.
Moscow’s District Attorney has asked the City Court to release Pavel Ustinov from a detention center before his appeal is heard on September 23, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena confirmed to the news agency Interfax. The court is expected to rule on the request on Friday, September 20. The district attorney wants Ustinov released on his own recognizance.