Putin in Wonderland

When Christmas comes, the Russians storm the offices of fortune tellers, magicians, and shamans. They believe they will find the answer to what their future holds in uncertain times, all the more so because they are convinced that Putin himself uses magic.

The holiday season in Russia is the time of fortune tellers, magicians, shamans, mediums and spiritists. The Russians are looking for answers in the paranormal world, ghosts, numbers, and symbols to questions: what’s next and what will the future hold. With the uncertainty of the future and the war, the popularity of esotericism and mysticism increased even more. However, it was always high in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In the old tsarist Russia, fortune-telling fell between Christmas, celebrated on January 7, and January 19, the day of the Jordan Festival or the Baptism of the Lord (especially on the night of January 13-14).

Today, the closer we get to the end of the year, the more often the Russians turn to fortune-telling. They do it even on hundreds of websites and in special programs on state television. Although there is no hard evidence, Vladimir Putin is also suspected of esotericism. The Russians even believe that invisible forces are helping him and that he uses unique combinations of numbers and symbols to ensure his success.

Magicians and ghosts

A visit to a fortune teller in Moscow costs from $10 and up. There are special fortune tellers for heart issues, and there are special fortune tellers for finances. Russian business people often go to fortune tellers before essential transactions. Or to various kinds of shamans. They also go sorcerers who specialize in harming others using a charm.

According to VCIOM research from last year, one-third of the Russians believe in predicting the future, 25 percent in witchcraft and the ability of some people to harm at a distance using willpower, and 12 percent believe in contact with the spirits of the dead. The same research says that from 20 to 60 percent of the Russians use the services of occultists and fortune tellers. Hence, two months ago, a bill was introduced in the Russian Duma to regulate the market for these specific services: fortune-telling and spiritism. All because the market is experiencing a vast flourish today.

In March this year, 20 times more Russians signed up for “mystical techniques” courses than a year earlier. There are online courses, there are schools of esotericism, shamanism, mysticism and all other paranormal pseudosciences. Slavic, Jewish, or Muslim mysticism is popular – you can choose whatever works for you. According to the last research conducted six years ago, there were 800,000 fortune tellers, magicians, shamans, and occultists, and only 640,000 doctors in Russia.

The country, which became famous for the mystic monk Rasputin, and in the times of the USSR for Anatoly Kashpirovsky, who hypnotized people on TV screens, experiences cyclical fashions and fascinations with various paranormal techniques. Such practices were not destroyed even by the communist era. Contrary to appearances, they were not the domain of a poorly educated province. On the contrary, fashion has taken over the Russian elites. Especially today, when war creates uncertainty about the future, the aura of omnipotent power surrounding Putin is mixed with mystery and rumors constantly circulating in Russia. Is there only one Putin or more? Does he have doppelgangers? What happens to him when he disappears, and does he have supernatural abilities?

Putin at the shaman’s

At the end of November, in the current program “60 Minutes” on Rossiya-1 TV, experts argued that mystics and magicians overran Ukraine.

– Ukraine is like Nazi Germany; its authorities are fascinated by and obsessed with mysticism and magic – argued Alexei Fienenko, Professor of International Relations at Moscow State University.

On the same day, Rossiya-1 broadcasted a segment on numerological fortune-telling using numbers during prime time. They were pretty serious about it.

A year ago, on December 27, at a meeting with the leaders of the CIS countries in St. Petersburg, Putin gave them gold rings. Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Ilham Aliyev received signet rings with the inscription “for the New Year 2023”.


– By giving the ring, he concluded a contract with them, and breaking it is paid with blood – said Max Gordeev, the Ukrainian winner of the TV show “Battle of the Psychics” (Bitva Extrasensov), and then added – It is clear to me that Putin uses esotericism when also planning military campaigns.

“Bitva Ekstrasensov” is a popular program on TNT. It involves competition between magicians, bioenergy therapists, fortune tellers and people with paranormal abilities. The 23rd season of “Battle” is already broadcast in Russia, and local editions are also popular in Lithuania and Ukraine.

Suspicions that Putin attaches importance to dates are not new. For example, on September 30, 1999, while still Prime Minister, he began an operation in Chechnya. On the same day in 2015, Russia launched an operation in Syria. And last year, it officially, although illegally, annexed four Ukrainian regions.

The Russians are also looking for the magic of numbers in the war against Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022. They are comparing this date with the start of World War I and II, which began on July 28, 1914, and September 1, 1939, respectively. Interestingly, they are using the correct date for the start of World War II rather than the date they recognized most often as its beginning, June 22, 1941. Well, the sum of the digits included in the dates of the beginning of wars always results in the number 68. They looked for symbolism on April 21, 2021, when Putin delivered a speech before the Federal Meeting in which he was threatening the West. The symbolism of the date says that the message was on the 21st of April 2021, the 21st century and the 21st year of Putin’s rule. The Russian satrap was to choose the dates personally. The Russian Internet is full of information that Putin uses an army of astrologers, shamans and specialists of the paranormal world. But there is no evidence for this.

Similarly, the evidence is lacking when it comes to the news reported last year by journalists from Project Media that Putin bathes in fluid from Altai deer antlers to rejuvenate himself. Putin’s known and official relations with shamans are quite complicated. In 2019, a shaman from Yakutia, Aleksandr Gabyshev, undertook a march on Moscow. His goal was to expel the demon Putin from the Kremlin. The expedition ended severely for the Yakutian shaman because he ended up in a psychiatric hospital for forced treatment and remained there to this day. The authorities took his witchcraft seriously and considered it subversive. The chief shaman of Russia, Kara-ool Dopchun-ool from Tuva, supports Putin, and many shamans from Asian republics consider Putin to be the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.

In October, the chief shaman performed a ritual intended to give Putin great strength and protect Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. Shamanism is the traditional religion of numerous soldiers from Tuva and Buryatia who serve in the Russian army. Shamans encourage them to fight, assuring that reincarnation awaits them after death. Kara-ool Dopchun-ool says that Russia will win the war when Volodymyr Zelensky’s power in Ukraine falls, and another man will come to power in Kyiv in 2024. Similarly, online fortune tellers, magicians and shamans predict Russia’s victory and Putin’s omnipotence. In this respect, Russian esotericism seems to be another department of propaganda managed by the Kremlin.

Michał Kacewicz/belsat.eu

Translated by KZ/PEV