Moscow to launch anti-sect program after police bust major cult
Moscow’s City Hall intends to create a special memo detailing the dangers of destructive sects and containing advice for those who fall under influence of such groups.
Renat Laishev, of the Moscow Duma committee for public movements and religious groups, said in comments with M24 news site that in the very near future the legislature would discuss the format and content of the much-needed memo. He added that the document must contain two key points: how to determine a destructive sect and who to address in case of any problems with destructive cults.
The head of the Ethnic Policy and Tourism department of Moscow city government, Vladimir Chernikov, said that once the memo is created it would be distributed by all available means, including internet advertising and handing out leaflets near churches and in public places.
Aleksandr Korelov, of the Russian Association for Research into Religions and Sects, called the initiative very important, adding that people under stress need to have it explained to them that joining a sect can cost them their property, health and in some extreme cases even their life itself.
Earlier this month, police in Moscow busted a major cult of a man who called himself God Kuzya after his dead parrot. Top members of the sect were accused of beating and torturing other participants and investigators said they seized about $4 million in various valuables in their apartments.
Apart from that, the Russian Orthodox Church accused the God Kuzya cult of defrauding the visitors of Christian fairs by installing their own stands at these events and collecting donations.
Security forces also found several rare animals during their searches, including an armadillo, an echidna and a talking parrot.
In a separate incident, about 35 people locked themselves in an underground bunker in central Russia's Penza region over fears of the approaching end of the world. They spent several months there, only leaving their hideout after spring floods started to destroy it.