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Second doomsday group awaits world's end

At least two followers of cult leader Pyotr Kuznetsov have been found barricaded inside their leader's house in Penza. A mother and daughter said they were too late to join the main group of 30 who have been holed up in a cave in central Russia since earl

Ventilation pipe – the only way to communicate
Ventilation pipe – the only way to communicate
Explaining why they didn’t go underground together with other followers, the two women answered it was “God's will” that they were too late to get into the bunker. “Our fate is different,” they said.

The cult, which calls itself “The True Russian Orthodox Church”, is preparing for the end of the world.  Believers say doomsday will come in May 2008.

The followers in the house say the prediction has divine authority.

“It’s even in the Bible. We went to churches till the end, we’ve been looking for churches, but they all have devil’s numbers. They’re all merged with the secular arm,” a woman said from behind a closed door at the cult’s ‘church’.

Meanwhile, efforts continue to persuade other members to quit their cave in central Russia. The group, which includes four children, have been barricaded inside the remote underground bunker for more than two weeks. They say they're waiting for the end of the world.

Sect leader Pyotr Kuznetsov, who isn't among them, says he's willing to negotiate with his followers for the release of the four children. Kuznetsov is confined to psychiatric hospital.

Psychologists say he is the only person who can change the situation. Officials are expected to take him to the bunker soon.

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

The bunker plan
The bunker plan
Followers from all around Russia
The bunker is an impressive construction, built 12 metres below ground. It’s dug out of limestone and clay, and therefore, doesn’t need pillars to support it.   

The religious fanatics claim the structure and the amount of supplies will sustain them until spring.

The bunker's residents are thought to be from different parts of Russia and the CIS. Reportedly, none of them were employed and their children weren't allowed to go to school.

“Many of them sold their flats. We saw a man who came here from Donetsk in Ukraine to take back his mother who's one of the followers,”
local resident Boris Danilov says.

The temperatures above the bunker at night reach -15 Celsius. That's why doctors are concerned about the children, one of whom is only 18 months old.