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20 Feb, 2020 11:46

Making money by 'preventing apocalypse': Russian police raids cult that 'made millions' selling 'divine protection'

Making money by 'preventing apocalypse': Russian police raids cult that 'made millions' selling 'divine protection'

St. Petersburg police searched the apartment-turned-"temple" and stables of "Order of the Path," a family-run cult that claimed to be fighting against "black mages" in the gov't and sold "divine protection" for $300,000 a pop.

Earlier this week, St. Petersburg police SWAT teams raided the mysterious "Order of the Path," a cult run by psychologist-turned-"magister" Gayva Tihomirova, and arrested the leader, 78.ru reports. The raids targeted the main "temple" of the organization, which was converted from a two-bedroom apartment, their offices, and the stables outside the city where, the shady Order held their cabals. By day, Tihomirova and company played therapist to wayward souls who wandered into the "temple" looking for help with their troubles. By night, the sinister organization worked on "preventing the apocalypse, protecting life and civilization on planet Earth, and the planet itself" by getting their victims to pay them tens of thousands of dollars for "divine protection" spells.


Hooking the target

An average "client" that Tihomirova's operation targeted was a man like "Roman" (name possibly changed to protect his identity), who spoke to 78.ru. Roman was a well-off St. Petersburg-based businessman with a dark secret: he hit the bottle pretty hard. The rich alcoholic heard about the friendly psychologist from a friend of a friend, and decided to visit the "temple" to try to find a cure for his addiction. At first, the organization drew him in: everyone was friendly, really listened to his concerns, made him feel like they actually cared about him. For a man who got used to hearing from doctors that they couldn't help him, this was a real change of pace. Roman was hooked, and kept coming back for Tihomirova's $100 "balancing" sessions.

Sucking them dry

As time went on, Roman's addiction kept a tight grip on the businessman. Despite his regular trips to the "temple," he wasn't getting any better, so Tihomirova suggested that the real solution to his problems wasn't in St. Petersburg, it was in a small hamlet abroad. Roman balked at the $2,000 price tag for a trip to the country in the middle of his busy season, but after a bit of prodding, and promises that soon he'll finally rid himself of his disease, he joined the group on their way to rural Lithuania. At the hamlet, Tihomirova pushed a series of "ordeals" on him: he was buried alive for eight hours at a time, hung from a cross to be able to forgive himself, and was even left in the middle of the woods for 24 hours with no food or water. None of this helped. Not the first time, and not the many other times he went there over the next eight years. The cult held onto him, and sucked him dry, raking in over $150,000 from the man, until he went bankrupt, losing everything.


Selling a little bit of divine protection

Luckily for Roman, he wasn't rich enough to afford the cult's greatest service: nothing short of divine protection. Those that had the funds got a taste of complete defense from all enemies, both physical and spiritual, handed down from God himself. Tihomirova summoned these "divine domes of protection" over her clients for the low, low price of $20,000 per person. And of course, if her target was a businessman, he could buy a "dome" that covered his whole company, though that would cost him a cool $300,000.

Unfortunately for her victims, these domes had a pesky tendency to degrade over time. You see, they were supposedly held up by monks on a remote island, who chanted psalms day and night to maintain the "divine magic," and those monks needed regular support. In cold hard cash.


A tight leash

Like with any cult, there was dissent. Not everyone who got in this deep with the Order wanted to keep giving Tihomirova and family a tenth of their income, plus some started asking thorny questions about all of her properties. After all, the woman owned several apartments in St. Petersburg, plus the offices, and a "ranch" outside the city. Sources claim that Tihomirova was ruthless when dealing with these doubting Thomases. She allegedly threatened their families, had her other acolytes rough them up, and warned them about the biggest threat to whole organization: the "black mages" and "reptiloids" inside the government and police who kept a watchful eye on the Order. If her followers misbehaved, they could expect SWAT at their door.


The raids

Which is exactly what happened on February 18, when the St. Petersburg chapter of the Centre for Combating Extremism raided Tihomirova's apartments and offices, supported by Russia's National Guard SWAT team. The raids were connected to the case that St. Petersburg police have been working on since August 2019 concerning large-scale fraud (article 159, section 4 of the Criminal Code of Russian Federation). The police found 130 ampules of sedatives, 60 knives, 50 books on occult topics, and over $17,000 in cash in various currency, and Tihomirova was arrested as a suspect in the fraud case, according to 78.ru.

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