ST. PETERSBURG A controversial faith healer may be in need of a tonic after a court upheld a ruling preventing him from advertising a series of popular healing shows that he claimed could cure a range of disorders.
Alexander Tyan-Shansky has spent years battling the Federal Anti-Monopoly Ministry (FATM), which earlier this year ruled he was not qualified for his job and lacked a license to practice. The organization, which partly acts as a watchdog on private businesses, consequently banned him from public advertising.
The decision was upheld by the St. Petersburg Arbitration Court last month, when officials rejected Tyan-Shansky's claim that his healing shows were just musical concerts, for which a license is not needed.
FATM representative Vyacheslav Bulgakov said Tyan-Shansky's Program of Optimism and Healthy Perceptions of Life offered cures for conditions including psoriasis, eczema, diabetes and impotence.
"But in the course of the last four years, our office received dozens of complaints from people who found no progress in the state of their health after they visited healing shows conducted by Tyan-Shansky in a dozen Russian cities," Bulgakov said. "People were simply asking to stop this lie."
FATM officials discovered that Tyan-Shansky had not studied medicine as he claimed, but was in fact a graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory's violin school. He had also never been awarded a license from any state institution.
"As long as the federal law on advertising specifies that such healer services need licensing, we found it was the right thing to do to apply one of the articles of the law and ban Tyan-Shansky from further advertising," Bulgakov said.
Despite the court ruling, a spokesman for the City Hall's Medical Committee said a special commission recognized that the healer's show had certain "psycho-therapeutical effects," evidence that was submitted to the court.
Tyan-Shansky said he would take his case to a court of appeal in a bid to get the decision overturned. "I just write unusual music, and those who want to listen to it should have the right to do so," he said. "I am just a composer, and as for hypnosis, everyone is a bit of a hypnotist, including the officials [from FATM]."