The Return of the Legend: Anatoly Kashpirovsky’s Treatment of COVID-19
The tensions between western scientific and alternative medicine become more palpable during times of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a period of confusion, evoking mistrust of conventional medicine, which has been unable to fully protect people from this new disease. Gis situation has compelled some to seek help and comfort elsewhere. This article demonstrates how people in post-Soviet countries and post-Soviet diasporic communities resurrected their faith and trust in Anatoly Kashpirovsky, a legendary psychotherapist and charismatic leader who first rose to prominence in the USSR in the 1980-90s. On the basis of digital fieldwork conducted during the lockdown, I showcase how Kashpirovsky once again became popular in 2020 at a moment of global economic, social and political instability. While Kashpirovsky’s audience finds comfort in his professional training and medical experience, his YouTube “health sessions” offer treatments for COVID-19 that relegate him to the realm of folk healer, magician, or psychic.
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