Sect claims magazine cures cancer and AIDS

The sect's founder (L) dubbed himself the “true parent of mankind”
A man who allegedly promised to cure cancer and HIV/AIDS by encouraging the sick to buy his sect’s magazine and place it on their body has been arrested in Siberia after his so-called alternative treatment claimed the lives of four people.

­The sect’s leader Valery Milshtein from the city of Novosibirsk is said to have promised miracle healing for all illnesses. The name of the sect was the “The energy of the sun”, with the healing method being based on sunlight. Milshtein and his supporters suggested spending as much time as possible under sunrays, but also drinking salty tea and placing the sect’s magazine “Zvezda Selennoy” on sick parts of the body. 

The name of the magazine in Russian sounds almost like the phrase “The star of the universe”. The author explained that “Selennoy” means “pure mind”. The sect persuaded people to buy the magazine, which cost from 70 to 300 rubles (US$6-10) for each family member, claiming that otherwise it would lose its power.

On the sect’s website activists posted a guide on how to read the magazine correctly.  All texts published on the website are written in bad Russian with punctuation mistakes.  It is said that covering the magazine and putting bookmarks in it is not allowed. And if someone takes a person’s magazine it is necessary for the original owner to buy a new one.

There was one more condition – patients were not allowed to go to hospital, a move which is said to have cost four patients their lives. They all trusted the charlatan, gave him huge amounts of money, but died.

­“I am curing him with salty tea, with sun”

Police remembered the case of a young woman who died from an ovarian cyst.

“If she had visited the doctor on time, there would not have been anything serious. But the woman decided to receive treatment at the sect.  The cyst achieved huge seize. She was hospitalized in critical condition, but she did not survive after the surgery,” cited Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Another woman spent nearly 20,000 rubles ($600) for such “treatment” over six months.

"She was getting worse and worse,” the woman’s relatives said. “She even stopped eating, was like under hypnosis”. Calls from the sect and requests for money stopped when activists found out that their patient died.

Some supporters even tried the sect’s method on children.

"My child has eczema, so I am curing him with salty tea, with sun”, said one local woman. “His face is red, but this is temporary, it will go away."

For two days each month activists held days of the sect, days on which the “holy person” (how they describe their leader) presented his reports about life without medicines and hospitals.

The local house of culture was overcrowded on those days with up to 1,500 people turning out to listen to the leader. Members showed documents purporting to be from the Ministry of Health to convince people the treatment was legal. The ministry itself was not able to explain the documents.

About 20 centers were set up around the city. Those who were not able to travel were visited at home by specially appointed persons.

“These groups went to the seriously ill, kept their hands above them, read the mantra which consisted of digits, then took a reward of 300 rubles ($10) per session,” Komsomolskaya Pravda quotes its source.

The sect started in the 1990s in Kazakhstan. It was founded by Farkhad Abdullaev, a local driver who dubbed himself the “true parent of mankind”.  He is said to have believed that like God he created the world from clay. In 2007, Abdullaev died, but his “business” continued.

The sect was banned in Kazakhstan in 2008, but not in Russia where it had lots of supporters.

And in 2002, Valery Milshtein became the leader, with the headquarters in Novosibirsk. Now, after being previously convicted for mugging, robbery and gang rape, he could face his fourth trial for fraud.