(Kyiv) Surrounded by candles and a crystal ball, Ukrainian clairvoyant Roman Zavydovskiï addresses viewers of his videos posted on social networks: “I assure you that total war will end in 2024.”

With Kyiv and independent military analysts unable to predict the outcome of the 20-month conflict, some Ukrainians are now turning to astrologers, tarot readers, sorcerers and magicians to predict the future.

Most of those who consult Mr. Zavydovskii ask him “when will the war end,” he told AFP. The second most common question? “When will Putin die? “.

Predictions from the country’s most popular psychics reach hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and TikTok.

“Victory is already on the way, but you must understand that it will not happen in one day,” says magician Serguii Kobzar in a video.

In Ukraine, an Orthodox country where religion was long repressed under the USSR, interest in various beliefs is growing, including the occult. And the war has a lot to do with it, explains Lidia Smola, a psychologist and politics expert.

“People don’t know if the Russians are going to fly Shahed (explosive drones, editor’s note) again tomorrow, if there will be bombings… Nobody can tell them when the war will end,” she told the AFP.

“And this uncertainty, unbearable for people, pushes them to seek comfort. And for some, horoscopes and predictions become a form of support,” she analyzes.

In this, Ukraine is not unique. The United Kingdom also experienced a craze for the occult during the Second World War, notes Lidia Smola.

While some Russians are interested in the Bulgarian clairvoyant Baba Vanga who, several decades ago, predicted that a Russian named “Vladimir” would become the “Lord of the World”.

Psychics offer “simple answers to very difficult questions,” says Lidia Smola.

But false hopes “lead to deeper depression when they do not materialize,” also warns the psychologist.

Despite this, after a consultation with Valery Shatilovitch, a clairvoyant from Kyiv, Aliona Zakharchenko claims that such a session brings faster results than therapy.

“If you go to see a psychologist, you have to explain your problems for a long time… There, Valéri and I talked for an hour and he already understood what my concerns were,” says this 34-year-old journalist.

The mediums themselves believe they are responding to a real need.

“I think I’m helping people in these times,” says Roman Zavydovskiï, who uses tarot cards and his “intuition” in particular.

“The predictions reassure them. They want to know the future because they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he adds.

But faced with this growth, the authorities have their sights set on malicious psychics who promise desperate families a reunion with their loved ones who disappeared in the fighting.

A 29-year-old woman who had no news of her husband was contacted by a medium who persuaded her to give him more than $1,100 and gold jewelry to help her find him, police reported. in western Ukraine in September.

On the streets of Kyiv, classified ads tout the “research” carried out by a clairvoyant and a practitioner of black magic.

Serguiï Kobzar, the magician in question, assures that he no longer accepts such requests, because the missing person is most of the time dead.

“I’m a believer in leaving hope,” he explains.

Valéri Chatilovitch, conversely, sees an interest in it.

“Maybe a husband is dead and (his wife) won’t find him, or he’s a prisoner of war… But if you see something positive in his future, then she can regain hope and find motivation to continue to live”, he judges, denying “abusing their grief”.

Roman Zavydovskiï also justifies his approach: “They find coming to see me a sort of outlet.”

While the Russian invasion has lasted since February 2022, Serguiï Kobzar summarizes the questions of the population who consult him: “At the beginning it was: “Will there be negotiations (with Moscow)?”, then: “When will the war end? and finally now: ”When is all this going to end? ”.