To: Moscow Mayor Yu.M. Luzhkov,
From: Mikhail Ivanovich Moskvin-Tarkhanov (of Moscow Duma)
Re: On the project creating the Krishna shrine on Khodynsky field in Moscow
November 25, 2003

Most esteemed Yuriy Mikhailovich!

In Moscow City Duma hearings on the issue of the activities of totalitarian religious sects in Russia have been held repeatedly. During these a detailed analysis of the activities of various religious denominations in the City of Moscow was carried out.

Undoubtedly, support for social and cultural activities that merit the most profound attention are those traditional to the Russian realm, or those denominations that are universally acknowledged: the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Baptists and other Christian denominations, "classical" Muslims, such as Sunni or Shiites, Jewish believers, Buddhists and a series of others.

In opposition to this are the misgivings and demands to counteract the system with regard to the Scientology Church, the Moonists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and a number of other destructive and totalitarian cults.

Unfortunately, the Russian Krishna have themselves been recognized in Russia more as a totalitarian cult than as a recognized denomination, so state aid in creating a Krishna shrine in Moscow is objectionable.

In considering this, as long as many immigrants from India live and work in Russia, a political alternative would be the creation of a medium sized classical Hindu complex which would employ not Moscow Krishnas, but religious figures from India, who would not strive to lure the youth of Moscow into a more seething idleness, to spread aggressive ignorance and to uphold a "slumber of the intellect, which gives birth to monstrosities."

I invite your attention to this problem.

Moscow City Duma religious organizational affairs coordinator,
M.I. Moskvin-Tarkhanov

A committee of experts is to be formed in the capitol to combat destructive cults.

May 17, 2002

On May 17 in the Moscow City Duma there was deliberation on the topic "Of destructive totalitarian cults (sects)." "Regions.Ru" reported this from the Moscow City Duma press center. As announced by the initiator of the discussion, Deputy Mikhail Moskvin-Tarkhanov, he addressed a letter to the RF President about the threat to the national security of Russia by the activities of totalitarian religious and pseudoreligious sects. In it he commented that at the present time ten sects and organizations were active in Moscow and on RF territory which, as a rule, pose themselves in opposition to the denominations traditional in Russia.

In the deputy's opinion, the government and society in Russia tended to underestimate the present-day measures and risks of widely distributed sects. Besides, many government and social figures possessed opportunity to illegally "strangle" personal rights and freedoms, which supposedly could be used by a totalitarian sect. In developed democracies, however, Germany and France in particular, the risk from sects was recognized and they successfully opposed operations from a large number of international religious organizations, such as the "Church of Scientology" or the "Unification Church of Moon".

Mikhail Moskvin-Tarkhanov expresses his opinion that "a free state does not mean "connivance for [just] any ugliness."

In response to the deputy's letter, the RF Security Council commented that the full power of the subject was sufficient to create an interdepartmental commission to develop international cooperation, and preparation of a normative legal base and production of a common solution to the problem of destructive sects.

Now in Moscow, according to statistics, nearly 2.5 percent of Muscovites classify themselves as so-called Protestants of various shades. This is where nearly 80 percent of people joining cults come from. However, if this number is regarded not as an expression of percentages, but in numbers, then the quantity of those whose fates have been sealed for them is appalling. In the opinion of Public Youth Safety Committee deputy chairman Mikhail Gerasimov, it's not only psychicallly weakened or ill people that end up in the "clutches of the cult." Very frequently they attract into their ranks "upwardly mobile" young workers and students of famous Moscow institutions. An example given by M. Gerasimov, several destructive cults had found a haven in Moscow University. People did not have objective information about cults or about their real activities. Therefore one of the problems which needed to be resolved by the authorities was to hold informational meetings on the youth basis. In Mikhail Moskvin-Tarkhanov's opinion, the Capitol Education Committee needed to consider building tolerance awareness with young people.

No less important was the order of operation, which now involved the Youth Safety Committee, concerning the rehabilitation of those who had fallen under the influence of cults. Mikhail Gerasimov believes leaving cults can be compared with freeing someone from a place deprived of liberty: they also need reintegration into life and and society. Besides that, within the confines of cults, children are raised with an altered consciousness and also need help. Between them, in the course of the meeting, it was noted that the Youth Safety Committee works in extremely difficult conditions, and Mikhail Moskvin-Tarkhanov promised that he was preparing an appeal to the mayor of Moscow, in which he supported the actions of the Committee. All in all the meeting centered around a decision about the necessity to create an expert committee in Moscow, which had the power to formulate issues toward a common approach toward the fight against destructive cults. Besides that, there was support for an idea about the necessity to develop an agreeable position between the capitol government and religious organizations.

False Prophets on the advance - more than half million Russians belong to cults
by Karsten Packeiser
November 7, 2003

Moscow (epd). Alexander Dvorkin's modestly furnished office lies in the back yard of the Patriarchal publishing house. Russian and English texts from the Scientology organization lie next to agitation brochures of Russian National Socialist neo-pagans. The word "cultbusters" swerves around as a screen protector on the gray-haired professor's computer monitor. Dvorkin, Russia's most well-known and, at the same time, controversial sect expert, sounds the alarm: Totalitarian sects are, in his opinion, on the advance in Russia.

There are no exact numbers, but according to estimates 600,000 - 800,000 Russians belong to a sect, says Dvorkin. Participants of a conference organized by Orthodox church circles in Moscow even came to the conclusion in late October that the number has already passed a million. According to Dvorkin, the main organizations under critical observation by his center that are expanding are the Jehovahs Witnesses, the Mormons and the charismatic neo-Pentecostal movement, which is also regarded as a sect by the Orthodox Church.

Critics say of the Orthodox cult expert that, in reality, the church isn't as much concerned with warning people about dangerous cults as it is getting rid of competition. Anatoliy Ptshelinzev, whose attorney's office represents mostly religious minorities, is himself certain that completely innocent organizations fall victim in the fight of the Orthodox Church against cults. "There was an attempt to prohibit the Salvation Army because it looked like a military organization," he sums it up. "You may as well try to prohibit Santa Claus. He wears a uniform, too."

According to Dvorkin, the sects in Russia have also been concentrating successfully on political lobbying, and not only do they know top officials, but also have a portion of the citizens rights crowd on their side. Meanwhile close contact between controversial religious leaders and the Russian elite has become a tradition.

Even Mikhail Gorbatschev, when he was head of Soviet State and Party Chief, officially received the head of the "Unification Church," Sun Myung Moon, in the Kremlin. In the mid-1990s close acquaintances of Boris Yeltsin became buddies with the Japanese cult leader Shoku Asahara. It wasn't until his cult committed the poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway that the Russian authorities took active steps against the organization, which until that time had spread unhindered through Russia.

While it was mainly foreign pseudo-cults on the prowl for lost souls at the end of the Soviet era, since then more and more Russian pseudo-religious teachings of salvation have come into being, some of which are already active in the West. The "Church of the Last Testament," centered around the Russian Segey Torop, who calls himself Vissarion, is actively recruiting, as far as Dvorkin knows, among Russian-Germans and other Russian-speaking emigrants. In the mid-90s the taiga-guru had his adherents build him an eco-commune in south Siberia.

At the present time, wherever Vissarion goes in Russia he is in great danger, according to Dvorkin, from adherents who have become impoverished. The worst case is that the sect will end in a collective mass suicide. "Vissarion already announced the end of the world twice, but then called it off. He can't keep on doing that forever," the professor is concerned.

Totalitarian cults breaking into state Duma
October 28, 2003
New Region news agency

Sverdlovsk Oblast. An unprecedented scandal has shattered the Urals. Nominee for state Duma deputy of Kamensk-Urals electoral district Alexander Ryavin has been accused of involvement in an influential totalitarian cult. An Orthodox cult opponent, Alexander Dvorkin, the director of the [former] St. Irineaus of Lyon Information-Consultation Center, has sounded the alarm. In his opinion, destructive religious cults are again actively spreading through the Urals.

Nominee for state Duma deputy, chairman of the Russian Network Party, and president of the DENAS MS corporation, Alexander Ryavkin, is one of the managers of the All-Russian benevolent assistance defense fund for motherhood and childhood, "MAMA". The organization in question, along with another ten or so different funds and associations, belongs to the cult of Korean preacher Sun Myung Moon, which is regarded as one of the richest and most influential of totalitarian cults.

According to information of the "New Region," before organizing the Russian Network Party, Alexander Ryavkin was president of the All-Russian charitable defense assistance fund for motherhood and childhood, "MAMA." However, in March 2003, Ryavkin prefered the ideology of the commercial cult and founded the Russian Network Party with support from small and medium sized businesses. The founding meeting took place with much ceremony in the Hall of Columns in the Union Building in Moscow. According to information on the official web page of the Russian Network Party, at the present time this organization has more than 13,000 members. According to the well-known contemporary specialist in the area of totalitarian cults, president of the Religious Research Center Alexander Dvorkin, to whom the "New Region" correspondent turned for comment, the Marketing Network (of which one of the prominent representatives in Russia is Alexander Ryavkin) is not a business, but a cult.

The commercial cults "Multi-level" and "Network" Marketing have all the chief characteristics of a cult personality: attempts to control consciousness, an exclusive circle, their own language (cult jargon), isolation from the outside world, a black-white perception of reality, a feeling of being the chosen ones, a sense of having the knowledge of salvation, and carrying out a mission for the world.

According to the information of specialists opposing totalitarian cults, as concerns the cult of personality associated with the people from Mr. Ryavkin's circle of acquaintances, the hierarchy in his corporation was constructed in the most skilled manner. It is regarded as a system of deference to the intellectual leader, who invented the miracle-apparatus of "DENAS MS" for all illnesses, bar none.

The inventive leader of the Russian Network Party believes that Network Marketing is not only a means to make money, but also a very effective political technology. In the opinion of Ural political technologists, the basic aspect at every level of the election is the creation of an effective working network, which is engaged in distributing propaganda material about the candidate. A mention of "cult" comes up in practically every region of the country when speaking about the president of the Russian Network Party. In Yekaterinburg, where city mayoral selection occurs in parallel with elections to the State Duma, Alexander Ryavkin has already met with all the primary candidates for town governor, and "all for $100,000" offered to lease them the use of his 'DENAS MS" distribution network for the essential political propaganda material. At the elections for State Duma in the Kamensk-Urals district, Alexander Ryavkin has already actively used the network for pre-election propaganda. At the present time adepts of the Network Party, the "DENAS MS" fanatics, are agitating for Ryabin in th (outpatient) lines of the polyclinic, where, by the way, sales pitches by "DENAS" are officially forbidden on the public transportation system. In their fight for buyers and voters they canvass apartments and businesses.

In the opinion of Alexander Dvorkin, specialist on totalitarian cults, today the Urals and Siberia are the territories on which destructive totalitarian cults most actively propagate. Like the "Red Guard," says Alexander Dvorkin, in Russia the regions may as well select the cult guard. Using cult technology at elections, the so-called Network Marketing, is very dangerous in Dvorkin's opinion, because it promotes mass attraction of citizens into the commercial-ideological pyramid. In the opinion of the expert and in consonance with the words of the network and cult, this is no accident. This and other events use the technology of manipulating consciousness, the goal of which is to change human values. Internal group values dominate networks and cults. The "networkers" are set to distribute things people like ("Herbalife", cosmetics, propaganda literature), after all the main income comes not from the sale of articles, but from attracting new members into the company (cult).

New Region information. As was reported in 1999 in the "Uralskaya Zhisn" newspaper, "to say that the Moonist movement does not have a relationship to Yekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk regions would be to strongly err against the truth." According to information from the "Religious organizations of the RF" reference book, the "Unification Church" association was registered 1 January 1996 in Yekaterinburg. In 1997, the "Federation of Women for World Peace" was registered. During that same time the now famous story with teaching the subject "My world and I" happened in Ural schools. A textbook by that same name had been prepared for children. As the specialists who were involved in the study of this book say, the textbook was constructed to compare traditional Christianity and the doctrine of the "Unification Church." The conclusion it made, naturally, did not benefit Orthodoxy. More than that, "Reverend" Moon was extolled on every page. According to certain information, having the faculty take a subject so strange to Russian schools was not free of charge. However, this was realized in a timely manner, a regional check was conducted, and the subject was stopped.

In 1999 a scandalous incident connected to the Moonists happened in Yekaterinburg. As "Uralskaya Zhizn" then wrote, the cultists, with the city administration, conducted a "March against drugs."

Several thousand people took part in the procession through the main street of the city. The center of the city was packed with teenagers who chanted slogans. Really, after shouting the completely innocent words that "pure love is born again," there followed the enigmatic text, "One man, one woman, one life, one family." Among the organizations in the march were "Federation of Women for World Peace," "Federation of Families for World Peace," and the "Youth for Morality" movement. Colorful booklets were handed out to all the teenagers with words to a song as follows, "True love is life for another value of his personal 'I', True love, True family." That song, used during the march, was built on Moonist terminology, and this was verified afterwards by the specialist for religious affairs of the city administration of Yekaterinburg, Tatyana Tagieva. Besides that, she said "any literature you find information about the 'Federation of Women' comes from the 'Unification Church' movement."

Experts at "Uralskaya zhizn" state unanimously that "despite the risks which the alliance of the municipal administration with the pro-Moonist organizations represent, from the legal point of view everything is irreproachable. The organizations are officially registered and they have the right to conduct such marches. The warning signal is the ardent desire of the city administration to conceal information about WHAT all these 'federations' represent and WHO they are involved with. Besides that, officials from the youth affairs committee tried to explain that these "Women's federations" were not at all connected with these or other 'federations.' Oh yes and by the way it was too bad they had to sing that song ... But, in expert opinion, that's exactly what was intended for the teens. The young people walked along, they sang this song, and they remember that the 'true family' is good. And they say, "Come on and join us, in the True Family." And all the young people leave home and quit school. In fact, they leave life. And if the parents lose a drug addict physically when he dies, then these parents lose their children spiritually. They simply leave for 'another world' with the approval of the city bureaucrats. Into the world of 'Reverend' Moon. 'What's next?'" "Uralskaya Zhizn" posed the question.

In the opinion of the journalists of this publication, there are highler level government positions in the city of Yekaterinburg which have close connections to Moon's cult. As the "Uralskaya Zhizn" wrote, "Something is turning out to be very complicated, but it's also impossible to keep it quiet, every day new victims fall into the clutches of the cultists, and the city administration looks upon this calmly ..."

Additional information about the influence of cultists on the public life of Yekaterinburg and Sverdlovsk regions emerged only in spring 2003. According to information from a number of sources, support for the Russian Network Party of Alexander Ryavkin (RoSP) was provided by the "gray cardinal" of the Yekaterinburg administration, Vladimir Tungusov. He assisted by allocating an office in Yekaterinburg for the RoSP federal executive committee at 103 Repina St. The office was built by the "Nash dom" construction company-monopoly, which is controlled by Tungusov, and which is located two steps from Ryavkin's office at 93 Repina. Setting the new situation apart from the situation in 1999 is that government authority, which used to have a disposition hostile with regards to cultists, now, by strange coincidence, is looking for contact with them.

Thus in April 2003 Alexander Ryavkin suddenly received the governor of Sverdlovsk region, Edward Rossel. On meeting with him the RoSP leader proclaimed his support for the governor, and Rossel said that the Network Party had the potential "to grow muscles." Who set the governor wrong about the origin and the potential of the "networkers" is unknown to this day.

Other things are known though. Alexander Ryavkin and other leaders of network marketing actively support Sverdlovsk region health minister Mikhail Sklyar. Thus at the end of September 2003, the minister officially congratulated the president of the DENAS MS corporation by handing him a certificate for fellow-correspondent of the International Academy of fundamental education, by awarding him a degree of doctor of medicine from the International Academy of fundamental education and conferring upon him the Order of the Polar Star (???)." Earlier the minister thanked Ryavkin's other associate, Valeriya Chernysheva in writing "for active participation in the reformation of the health department in Sverdlovsk region over the century and millennium." In fact, at a press conference on 16 October 2003 the Minister hurried to distance himself from DENAS MS and its president, claiming that the Health Ministry of Sverdlovsk region could not recommend the "DENAS MS" apparatus in the capacity of a useful and effective apparatus for treatment."

Russian experts propose creating program to disarm totalitarian cults

RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich
October 28, 2003

Russian experts proposed creating a program to disarm totalitarian cults that threaten the national security of the country.

With such an initiative appeared the participants of a "round table" discussion held on Tuesday in Moscow on the topic, "Totalitarian cults - weapons of mass destruction." Participants included academic psychologists, doctors, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and of state agencies.

"The majority of cult organizations have an American origin," announced the director of the clinical department of the Moscow NII of psychiatry of the Russian Health Ministry, Yuri Polishchuk. He believes that the invasion of cultism into Russia is "a carefully planned out and coordinated operation, which is still going on to this day and which has a huge financial backing from foreign and influential sponsors."

The ultimate aim of the activities of these cults, in expert opinion, "was to disconnect Russian youth from participating in state and social activities and themselves to undermine the future of our society and state."

Totalitarian cults in Russia became "suppliers of personnel" for terrorist acts, conclude experts

October 28, 2003
RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich

Totalitarian cults in Russia have today become the "suppliers of personnel" for terrorist acts. To fight this ill-will needs a combination of state, church and society.

To such a conclusion came the participants of a "round table" on "Totalitarian cults - weapons of mass destruction," which was held Tuesday in Moscow.

In the words of the general director of the Research Center on Strategic Development and National Security, Igor Oleinik, in the past few years, two new "worrying aspects" have emerged. The first was the active penetration of cultists into academic associations and associations for social assistance, including drug dependency. Secondly, active links have begun to develop between totalitarian cults and terrorist organizations.

In the organization of the most recent terrorist act in Chechnia with the use of suicidists, mechanisms of the the activities of totalitarian cults have been detected," noted Oleinik. Explosions in the building of government in December of the last year, in his words, which the Slavs also committed, were used in quasi-Islamic totalitarian cults.

"The state cannot decide this problem on a person-by-person basis, the expert was convinced. "Thus totalitarian cults hunt for people who are looking for faith. The church is not able to cope with this problem on a person-by-person basis either, thus force frequently needs to be used, which only the state really has. Of course direct and active participation by the public is needed."

Oleinik also noted that in recent years, the "government has somewhat turned away from the problem of cultism, and we want to bring the government back into the triad in the fight with totalitarian cults."

In the capacity of practical decisions the "round table" participants proposed improvement of Russian legislation and development of: new concepts of putting into operation the "Law on freedom of conscience and religious associations," a legal project on totalitarian cults and psychological terrorism, an addition to the RF criminal code an article on criminal culpability of psychological coercion, prohibiting operations in the establishment of the state budget connected with academics or social assistance by cult adepts/as the court decides, and also to create a state information-consultation center on the problems of cultism.

Participants of the discussion included leading academic psychologists, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Homeland Security and other state agencies.

Nearly a million Russians drawn into various cults

October 28, 2003
RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich

There are estimated to be from 300 to 500 different cults in Russia. The number of people drawn into destructive cults and occultic religious organizations comes to 1 million, 70 percent of which are young people ages 18 to 27.

Such information, as an RIA "Novosti" correspondent reported, was promulgated on Tuesday in Moscow in the course of a "round table" on the topic, "Totalitarian cults - weapons of mass destruction." Participating in the discussion were leading academic psychologists, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, along with Russian Homeland Security and other state agencies.

Alexander Dvorkin, Ph.D., president of the Center of Religious Research, and author [in Russian] of the term "totalitarian cult," estimates the number of "regular" cultists at a minimum of 600-800,000.

According to what he said, "imported cults, such as Scientologists, Moonists, Krishnas and Jehovahs Witnesses" were operating on Russian territory. Dvorkin classifies as "domestic cults" the Bogorodichniy Center in Moscow, Ashram Sambaly in Novosibirsk, the Vissarion cult in Krasnodar Krai, the Radasteya in the Urals, and others.

The most rapidly growing of today's cults is the neo-Pentecostal movement, which has embraced all the Urals, Siberia and Far East," noted Dvorkin, "the Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons continue to grow now as before."

For the rest of the cults the influx of members equals those leaving at the present moment. "The cultists are squeezed like lemons materially, physically and morally for several years until they're of no further use."

According to the experts, cults are actively buying up real estate, doing lobby work in state agencies, initiating court proceedings allegedly for violations of the law on freedom of conscience, and have tried to root themselves deeper into Russian society.

A totalitarian cult, according to Dvorkin's definition, is an authoritarian organization for whom the primary meaning of existence is power and money, which is obtained under cover of pseudo-religions, pseudo-culturalness, and other pseudo-goals. Many psycho-cults also have connections with totalitarian cults.

Alexandr Dvorkin: People need to know how they can find out more about cults
October 21, 2003

In recent times Yaroslavl has been a field of operations for the most diverse cults, from esoteric Eastern to commercial Western. About how not to become a conduit for the concepts of the various non-traditional religions was discussed in the Oblast center by a cultologist renowned in Russia, Alexandr Dvorkin, who is vice president of the "Dialogue Center" (an institute for the study of modern cultism), cultology chair of the St. Tikhon Orthodox Institute, Ph.D., M.Div., director of the the Center for Religious Center. Alexandr Leonidovich, well-known as an individual who actively resists the spread of new religious cults, has participated in court procedures and press appearances.

On October 20, 2003, Alexandr Leonidovich participated in a live broadcast of "Yaroslavia" PRK.

New cults frequently call themselves churches. They pretend to be on an equal standing with the religious and social organizations of traditional denominations. To the question of how to combine religious tolerance with activity against cults, Alexandr Dvorkin responded as follows:

- Tolerance implies tolerance to people, but not to ideas. Could we be tolerant with regard to terrorism, Nazism, misanthropic ideas and to organizations which themselves reject tolerance and which install a rigid regimen of human suppression in their organizations? We need to be tolerant toward every individual, even the most misguided, but this does not mean that the state needs to put up with destructive organizations or that these organizations need to be defended from criticism. This question needs to be examined in the framework of the concepts of tolerance and freedom of conscience. Freedom of conscience is a personal right, freedom of personal conscience, but not a corporate right, not freedom for a number of organizations to do what they want. Equal rights do not mean that the state has to support totalitarian cults.

- The situation in Yaroslav Oblast corresponds with the situation in the country on the whole, which is adverse enough. neo-Pentecostal cults are very strong in the region; in first place is the "New Generation" cult, which is now called the "Church of God." It has penetrated into all spheres of life in the Oblast is cause for concern. In this sense, Yaroslav Oblast is a proving ground for neo-Pentecostals, - believes Alexandr Dvorkin.

Alexandr Leonidovich noted that with respect to opposing totalitarian cults, Yaroslav Oblast is in a much better position than a number of other regions. People whose relatives are cult adherents, can apply for counsel in the Civic Initiative Center and Missionary Department of Yaroslav Diocese, which is actively involved with these problems.

- There are a whole series of criteria by which one can differentiate totalitarian cults from other religious associations. Through a decision adopted in France, totalitarian cults - this is a special type of totalitarian organization, the main meaning of whose existence is power and money for management and those close to them, and the pursuit of this goal is concealed with an entire assortment of guises, which could be of a religious, cultural, medical, psychological, health or a commercial nature. A cult has a number of characteristics: idolizing the leader or organization, deceit in recruitment, regulating all aspects of life, psychological methods of influence and consciousness control. One more criterium is the intolerance for other religions and lack of critical thinking by cult members, - said the theological professor.

In Alexandr Dvorkin's opinion, particularly disturbing was the fact that the number of suicides in cults was higher than the average in Russia. The Jehovahs Witnesses, for example, put great pressure on the individual.

The cult opponent met with journalists in Yaroslavl, appeared before clergy of the Yaroslav Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, before representatives of state agencies and local governments, and also met with ordinary residents. He paid special attention to the meeting with educational and cultural officials, as it is these areas that are most frequently targeted by representatives of non-traditional religions. There was also talk about inadequate federal legislation, "thanks" to which the most questionable cults could derive a sense of impunity.

The chief editor of the Orthodox informational-educational magazine "Prozrenie" has put his ideas forth in eight books, including "Ten Questions for Importunate Strangers," "Cults against Church," and "Cultology." How to expose deception and not be struck in a trap? In Professor Alexandr Dvorkin's opinion, people need to know how to get more information about cults. That way they can avoid tragedies like Penza.

Penza teenager takes own life after discussions with the Jehovahs Witnesses
October 17, 2003

A young resident of Penza, 13 year old Jakob Rustamov, committed suicide yesterday under strange circumstances. This was announced by examining magistrate Elena Kalyakina of the Penza prosecutor's office of Leninsky Region.

Jakob never had any problems at school or at home. Several hours before his suicide the boy returned home from school in a good mood and bragged to his mother and sister about getting "fives" ("excellents"), fed the parrot, had dinner, and went to his room to do his homework. Some time later the mother found the child's body, hanging from the father's belt.

All this appeared strange to a police officer and to the prosecutor. They searched the apartment carefully. In the child's room the investigators discovered a box of religious literature. With the given facts, the prosecutor is continuing the investigation at the present time.

We found literature of religious content. Presumably, this is a Jehovahs Witnesses book - said state investigator Kalyakina. She reported that at the present time the investigation was considering the possibility that this religious cult influenced the suicide of the teenager.

The Rustamov family arrive in Penza from Baku 5 years ago. The parents had jobs and  and his older sister Raya went to school. Nearly a year ago representatives of the Jehovahs Witnesses cult began to visit them and spoke with the children every Saturday for several hours. Now Jakob's parents want to hold the Jehovahs Witnesses accountable, reported, with links to the "Nash Dom" radio telecommunications company.

The religious current of the Jehovahs Witnesses appeared in the 19th century, and it was officially registered in Russia in the 20th century. As the years went by, the cultists went forth to preach en masse.

Nearly one million Russians in various cults
October 28, 2003

It is estimated that there are 300 to 500 different cults in Russia. The number of people drawn into destructive and occultic religious organizations amounts to one million people, of which 70 percent are young people of ages from 18 to 27 years.

This sort of information, as reported by an RIA "Novosti" correspondent, was released today in Moscow in the course of a "round table" on the theme of "Totalitarian cults - weapons of mass defeat." Participants in the discussion included academic psychiatry leaders, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, along with the Internal Affairs Ministry and other government agencies.

According to an assessment by Aleksandr Dvorkin, president of the Religious Research Center and author [in Russia] of the term "totalitarian cult", "permanent" cultists number 600-800,000 at a minimum.

As Dvorkin asserts, "imported cults, such as Scientology, the Moonists, Krishnas and Jehovahs Witnesses" operate on the territory of Russia. Dvorkin classifies as "domestic cults" the Bogorodichniy Center in Moscow, the Ashram Shambaly in Novosibirsk, the Vissarion cult in Krasnodar Krai, the Radasteya in the Urals, and others.

"The cult proliferating itself most strongly today is the neo-Pentecostal movement, which has embraced all the Urals, Siberia and the Far East," commented Dvorkin, "The Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons are, as before, actively growing."

In the rest of the cults the influx of members presently equals the outflow - the cultists are squeezed like oranges, physically and morally, until after several years they are squeezed out, says the senior Russian specialist and cultologist.

According to expert information, cults actively buy up real estate, organize lobbying efforts in government structures, initiate court proceedings which allege violations of laws for freedom of conscience, and strive to more firmly embed themselves in Russian society.

A totalitarian cult, according to Dvorkin's definition, is an authoritarian organization for which power and money give the most meaning to its existence, and these goals are attained using pseudo-religion, pseudo-culture and other pseudo-goals as a shield." Numerous psycho-cults also take after totalitarian cults.

As "round table" participants believe, the psychological coercion used upon victims of totalitarian cults need to be made a criminally accountable action, ITAR-TASS reported.

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