Russian boy dies in shaman ceremony

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, (Reuters Life!) – A four  year-old boy with pneumonia suddenly died after his parents took  him to a spiritual healer in an attempt to cure him,  investigators in Russia’s Far East said yesterday.

Traditional shaman healers, who have practiced in some areas  of Siberia and the far east for thousands of years, have  experienced a revival since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet  Union ended repression by the Communist authorities.

Identified by Russian media as Dmitry Kazachuk, the boy’s  family brought him to a female shaman in his village in the  Pacific Ocean region of Primorsky Krai on Sunday, where the  ancient shamanic practice of mediating between the human and  spiritual worlds is common.

“The investigation has established that the child died  during non-traditional medical treatment,” said Avrora Rimskaya  from the Prosecutor General’s investigative committee, adding  that the exact cause of death remains unknown.

State television Rossiya 24 showed a picture of the smiling,  black-haired boy, who was from the village of Sergeyevka, 135 km  (84 miles) north of the regional capital Vladivostok.

Pavel Astakhov, who oversees children’s rights in Russia,  blamed Kazachuk’s parents for his death, who acted out of  “arrogance and irresponsibility,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Popular Russian tabloid Tvoi Den said the boy was left alone  with the shaman after the family were hypnotised. When the  parents returned to the room the boy was dead, the report said.

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