Oracles become financial consultants

Some Russians are turning to the supernatural, which they believe will help them stay afloat during the economic crisis. Others prefer financial advice but with lots of swindlers in the field, its efficiency is doubtful.

Mehdi Vafa, an Iranian-born medium, made a name for himself when he emerged as the winner of a reality show involving psychics. He astonished viewers by his ability to tell the past by just running his hands over an item. Now people are lining up for him to tell their future.

Although for most major concern is money, Mehdi believes this is not the thing they should bother about so much.

“People come to ask me what to buy and what to sell, or what currency to choose to preserve their savings. But I’m trying to explain to them that the crisis is not the worst thing that could happen to them. There are things you can’t buy with money,” Mehdi says.

Just a year ago it was all about making money. Now it’s about saving it. A sharp inflation and an even steeper devaluation of the rouble are forcing many to look for financial advice – an area that in recent months seems to have attracted many unscrupulous money makers.

Training is Alyona Nikitina’s bread and butter. A financial consultant with several years of experience, she says recently she’s been competing against hired actors who simply recite chapters from Wikipedia, while charging from $30 to $300 per person.

“Crisis is the most popular word these days. And swindlers know they can make money on people’s fears,”
Alyona explains.

Some are just too tired of all the fears. Musician Aleksandr Shulgin lost millions during previous crises. Now he says he heeds only to the guidance of supreme forces, which comes free of charge.

“Everything is decided by our Lord,” Sulgin says, “If you are stripped of some material goods – that means you simply don’t need them. They’re not yours. Just forget and move on.”