‘Higher powers’ Russian ‘shamans’ call on ‘earth’s spirits’ to support fighters in Ukraine

Russian 'shamans' perform ritual for their troops in Ukraine

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A ritual broadcasted on Russian state television saw a bull’s head sacrificed to “higher powers”, along with a “sacred” object that could not be named. A Channel One Russia presenter said the purpose of the event was to “protect those participating in the special operation in Ukraine”.

A little over a month after Vladimir Putin announced the invasion, Orthodox tycoon Konstantin Malofeyev appeared on the same channel to insist the “special military operation” was, in fact, a “holy war”.

He said Russian forces were dealing not merely with Ukrainian men but with “satanists” and “pagans”.

Francis Scarr of the BBC has now drawn attention to the broadcasting of a ritual in which “higher powers” were called upon to defend those fighting in the “operation”.

A “Shaman” in the Russian republic of Khakassia took to the Saksary mountains “as soon as the last rays of sun disappeared over the horizon”.

A Channel One Russia correspondent said the man, Valery Nikolayevich, appears at first lane to be an “ordinary local”, but is, in fact, a “Chief Shaman”.

The correspondent, translated by Mr Scarr, described how “a bull’s head was used as an offering to the spirits”.

Nikolayevich highlighted that there was more to the ritual than meets the eye, though was careful not to give away too much detail.

He said: “There’s something else in [the fire] too. I won’t say what it is.

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“There’s something else inside it, but it’s sacred.”

The “Shaman” hopes his ritual will aid the efforts of Russian fighters after Ukrainian officials said these had entered a new, more aggressive phase.

Analysts suggest that Moscow is proceeding more successfully than it has earlier in the war, but that the chance of a full victory remain slim, not least because Putin’s specific aims in the “special military operation” are unknown.

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Some Kremlin officials have told Bloomberg they are increasingly pessimistic about the war, particularly about its long-term consequences for Russia, which they believe will be far more isolated on the world stage for many years to come.

They added, however, that they could not directly inform Putin about their concerns because they believed they had “no chance” of changing his mind.

Russian state TV has, in any case, continued to broadcast aggressively pro-war propaganda and often refers to the invasion in greater terms than those laid out by the Kremlin.

Mr Scarr drew attention to another unique tactic being employed by a businessman to support the Russian war efforts.

Plastic surgeon Yevgeny Dobreykin is promoting breast implants brandishing the Russian flag or camouflage.

These, he said, are for “real patriots”.

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