A new essay by Vice-President of the Union A.G. Zvyagintsev for “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”

A sect today is often just a project that allows its leader to earn money. What strings are played by people who call themselves “spiritual guides”

These people can do everything: heal from an incurable disease, find love, make a dizzying career, punish those who brought you evil. This is how they talk about themselves, calling themselves messiahs leading you to the light…

Секта, созданная Вячеславом Весниным, просуществовала в Оренбургской области более 17 лет. / СУ СК РФ по Оренбургской области
The sect created by Vyacheslav Vesnin has existed in the Orenburg region for more than 17 years. / Orenburg region SU RF IC

The City of Darkness

Sergey Torop created his own religious movement “The Church of the Last Testament” in the murky 1990s. He called himself “the son of God Vissarion”. People believed him. The novices sold their possessions and brought Vissarion money — he promised them a new wonderful life after “saving the world”. And few people noticed that in fact this was psychological violence. The goal was to cut a person off from real life, family, and snatch him from the circle of close friends. The “Church” settled in an eco-settlement in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Far away, all the usual connections were broken. What is not the notorious exile without the right of correspondence? Vissarion grandiloquently called his haven “the city of the sun”, where the ideal world should settle. In fact, darkness reigned there.

The “vicar of God on earth” persuaded people to refuse to serve in the Armed Forces of Russia. The secular concept of family was denied, a man could be married with two wives. A woman, according to the new teaching, was created only to serve a man and give birth to children. Medicine was banned, it was replaced by prayers, and the child’s illness was considered a punishment for the sins of their parents.

The “eco-settlement” has grown into local life. Torop’s adherents began to occupy elected positions of local self-government, this allowed them to get a large plot of land and ensure non-interference of other persons in the activities of the community. Vissarion felt increasingly influential and untouchable. All the more terrible things began to happen in the “city of the sun”. When the cup of patience of justice overflowed and the investigation began, monstrous crimes were established, which were committed by Torop, Redkin, Vedernikov and his other closest followers. Their actions were qualified under a number of articles of the Criminal Code of Russia, including intentional infliction of serious and moderate harm to health and even rape of a minor.


The word “sect” as a term scares people. It is strongly associated with magic, devilry, mysticism. But sometimes it’s just a project so that one person — a leader – can satisfy his dark desires and… earn money.

The destructive community created by Vyacheslav Vesnin has existed in the Orenburg region for more than 17 years and has gathered hundreds of followers. The former psychiatrist stood out among his colleagues with a special interest in techniques and practices that many had not even heard of in the early 1990s. For example, holotropic breathwork or ideas of sexual liberation.

The craving for this kind of novelty did not help to make a career. Then he formed his own “teaching”. Under the guise of a public organization, the “Personal Self-Improvement Fund” began to operate, and Vesnin appointed himself a “Master”.

The community was rapidly gaining momentum. According to the “Master”, not everyone deserved a chance for spiritual growth: the candidate had to be solvent and suitable for “processing”. First, there were trainings and exercises that could affect a person, change his psyche and psychology. Already at the first stage, it was necessary to immediately undress, get naked in front of everyone, and get in touch.

Discipline and an atmosphere of the strictest secrecy reigned in the community. Everyone chose a fictitious name when entering. The “Master” encouraged public nudity as a “liberation”, a demonstration of his devotion and desire to “improve himself”. Obscene songs, language, promiscuous sex, naked dancing — this is how Vesnin and his friends saw the process of “inner growth”. The concept of morality was erased, the value of the family was destroyed. For this purpose, rituals were held — “demonic weddings”.

What is a wedding? This is a solemn union of the destinies of two people. Here, a momentary disorderly combination of many people was started, after which the participants passed mutual copulation and in the end their “marriage” was dissolved by the “Master”. The corruption of young women took place against the background of the promiscuity of more mature participants, who helped to overcome shame and move to the next level of moral decline. Everything that happened inside the community, as a rule, was filmed and pictured.

A professional psychiatrist Vesnin knew how to subdue a person’s mind. The so-called holotropic breathwork was used. This is an oversaturation of the brain with oxygen, after which a person comes to a state of euphoria. In this state, Vesnin conducted conversations, instilling in the participants a sense of their exclusivity. The superiority was expressed in giving up public activities and participation in public life, opposing oneself to the whole world and focusing solely on “self-improvement”.

A New Creation of Evil

Nikolay Kuznetsov and Stanislav Moskvitin’s flock will have to go through a difficult path. Criminal cases for mental violence have been opened against both Omsk preachers operating under the guise of the allegedly “New Creation” church. Mental violence means changing a person’s worldview, habits, everything they are committed to beyond their desire and consent. In fact, this is the installation of complete control over a person “outside of his will”. Special techniques were used for this. The “sermons” were a kind of mix of stand-up shows and disco.

Conducted forensic psychiatric examinations and interviews with dozens of witnesses showed that Moskvitin used three types of hypnosis: classical, deeper fractional and Erickson’s — the so-called soft suggestion. People who have fallen under hypnosis become manipulated, they no longer implement their life programme but the rules imposed on them. And then the same story: those who managed to break with the obscurantists in time are trying to regain their own lives. Those who could not – defend the preacher with foam at their mouth. Not realizing that they are being ground by a whole satanic network.

In the first month of investigative actions, more than 100 complaints and appeals from the participants of the “New Creation” were received. There were many complaints from the Moscow region, Perm, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk. The organization has spread its networks wide!

Nothing Sacred

In 2015, a group was created in one of the social networks where topics of occult practices were discussed. They were based on the worship of Satan, bringing gifts in the form of their own blood and sacrifices, which could be not only animals but also people. The inspiration for the group was a certain Olga Bolshakova, who calls herself the “High Priestess”.

A Muscovite, she was in her early 30s at the time. She was a member of the “Church of Darkness” and considered herself a Satanist. A year later, Andrey Tregubenko appeared. They started living together, both took drugs. They became parents of two girls… and murderers. The victims were persons who were also interested in occult magic. They were invited to deserted places, as a rule, woodlands, where rituals of sacrifice were carried out allegedly to please Satan. At the same time, the “priests” took away the valuable property of the victims.

After the murder of one of the women, they tried to burn the body. A bonfire was lit at the burial site of another so that wild animals would not dig up the body. The investigators had to collect information literally bit by bit. But in the end, the suspects were detained, confessed to the murders and showed where the bodies were hidden. The investigation was completed, the accused were getting acquainted with the materials of the criminal case.

Crime doesnt pay

The detention of “Master” Vesnin and other participants of the Foundation occurred during the next suburban “session”. At dawn, more than 100 people were detained in cooperation with the Russian special units OMON and SOBR. No one was shot, no one was beaten. But after the detention, it became obvious that it would be difficult to work. Even the children were trained to lie professionally.

Experts of the Serbsky Institute have made serious conclusions. The accusation was based not only on the results of the examination. That photo and video archive, which Vesnin carefully collected, served as the basis of the evidence base. The Foundation’s activities were stopped. However, those whom Vesnin managed to break morally had a hard time. What is characteristic of an adult self-sufficient personality? This is responsibility for your behaviour, for your destiny. Adherents are deprived of this feeling, they are ready to shift responsibility to someone else, including some higher forces, whose guide is supposedly the pastor. Don’t think like that. In order not to realize one day that everything, including money, property, health and family, has been given to a stranger, it is necessary to understand that your life is in your hands. And if the destructive community has already managed to drag out someone from your close ones, contacting law enforcement agencies will help.

Source (in Russian)

Translated by Elizaveta Ovchinnikova

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