The “Shaman Warrior” Aleksandr Gabyshev: Identity at the Intersection of Two Cultures
[“Shaman-voin” Aleksandr Gabyshev: identichnost’ na styke dvukh kul’tur]
Type of publication: Research Article
Gabyshev, Siberia, Yakutia, shamanism, neoshamanism, shaman warrior, blessed foolishness, personal identity, penal psychiatry
The figure of “shaman warrior” Aleksandr Gabyshev from Yakutsk became the object of attention in social media in 2019–2020. The interest toward Gabyshev was sparked both by the goal he declared (“to drive President Vladimir Putin out of the Kremlin”) and by his peculiar personality. This article is drawn on a wide range of materials gathered in the course of research work on a visual documentary about Gabyshev. The worldview of the “shaman warrior” was a paradoxical tangle of the native Yakut culture and the Russian Orthodox culture. In many ways Gabyshev adhered to the line of behavior typical of “blessed fools” in the Russian Orthodox tradition. Indeed, his behavior and personality image could be seen as grounded in a sequence of contradictions that seemed meaningless and illogical in the context of the shamanic tradition. Yet aspects both of neoshamanism and of “blessed foolishness” were important assets that let him creatively develop his personal identity.
Bashkirov, M.B. 2021. The “Shaman Warrior” Aleksandr Gabyshev: Identity at the Intersection of Two Cultures [“Shaman-voin” Aleksandr Gabyshev: identichnost’ na styke dvukh kul’tur]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 5: 130–146. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150017419-0
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