Doomsday cult leader joins effort to end siege

Efforts to persuade members of a doomsday cult to leave an underground bunker in central Russia are continuing. The group of 29, which includes four children, have threatened to blow themselves up if forced to leave.

Sect leader Pyotr Kuznetsov, who isn't among them, says he's willing to negotiate with his followers for the release of the four chldren. Kuzentsov is confined to psychiatric hospital. Officials are expected to take him to the bunker soon.

Pyotr Kuznetsov, the doomsday cult leader
Pyotr Kuznetsov, the doomsday cult leader

Kuznetsov said it would be “great if I can go there and speak to my brothers and sisters.”

The self-proclaimed prophet has already given followers the go-ahead to free the children.  Adults have also been given the green light to come out.

“If there is anyone there who has lost heart – there's no reason for them to stay under ground anymore,” Kuznetsov said.

Professor of Medicine Vitaly Volovich said Kuznetsov's followers are obsessed with their leader.

“Pyotr is the only who can persuade them to get out,” Volovich said.

The question remains whether or not the fanatics will listen to their leader.

Leave me alone. We don’t communicate with my son. He’s schizophrenic

Antonina Kuznetsova,
mother of the cult's leader
Relatives distance themselves

Larisa Kuznetsova, 60, is the aunt of the leader of the sect. She says she’s not responsible for her nephew’s actions.

“He’s been ill for 10 years,” she said.

Larisa says she doesn’t share Pyotr’s religious views although her address was put on all his books.

“He put my address without my permission. People wrote. Not too much but sometimes. They probably wanted to join his sect. I haven’t read his books,” she said.

Kuznetsov's 75-year old mother, Antonina, lives in the same village. She locked herself inside her own house two weekes ago.

“Leave me alone. We don’t communicate with my son. He’s schizophrenic,” Antonina Kuznetsova is quoted as saying.