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Russian doomsday sect leader returns to asylum

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080504/106507096.html Russian doomsday sect leader returns to asylum 04/05/2008 16:31 NIZHNY NOVGOROD, May 4 (RIA Novosti) - The
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2008
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      http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080504/106507096.html

      Russian doomsday sect leader returns to asylum

      04/05/2008 16:31 NIZHNY NOVGOROD, May 4 (RIA Novosti) - The leader of
      a Russian doomsday sect, nine of whose members are still holed up in
      a dugout in the country's central Penza Region, has been readmitted
      to the asylum where he was held before being hospitalized in early
      April after an apparent suicide attempt.

      "[Pyotr] Kuznetsov's condition has improved, and he has been
      discharged from hospital. He was transferred to the psychiatric
      clinic where he was earlier held," a source in the local prosecutor's
      office said on Sunday.

      He had been hospitalized with head wounds on April 2. Although
      initial media reports claimed that he had been beaten by
      disillusioned sect members, authorities later said that his wounds
      were the result of a suicide attempt.

      Thirty five of Kuznetsov's followers went underground in November to
      wait for the end of the world, which he had told them would come in
      May or June. He is also reported to have said that they would be
      given the power to decide who would be sent to hell and who would go
      to heaven after the Apocalypse. The sect had earlier pledged to
      commit mass suicide if any attempt was made to force them to come to
      the surface.

      However, following the collapse of the dugout's roof after heavy rain
      in late March, 24 members of the group quit the shelter. Two members
      have reportedly died underground and are buried in the dugout. The
      remaining nine sect members have said they will come to the surface
      after a religious holiday in mid-June.

      Kuznetsov did not join his followers in the shelter, saying that he
      had "another mission in life." He was charged with inciting religious
      and racial hatred, but was declared mentally unfit to stand trial in
      late March.

      The sect is part of a wave of extreme Russian Orthodoxy in Russia and
      some former Soviet republics. Adherents of this radical form of
      Christianity refuse to own passports, as they "contain the number of
      the Beast", and will not handle money or consume products packaged in
      containers bearing 'Satanic' barcodes.

      Russia has seen a great number of sects throughout its history. One
      of the most famous of these was the Skoptsy, who castrated themselves
      and cut off women's breasts 'to avoid sexual temptation and sin'. The
      sect was first reported in the 18th century and is known to have
      still existed in the 1920s.

      Another notorious sect was the Khlysty, an offshoot of the Russian
      Orthodox Church. The Khlysty believed that the way to salvation lay
      through the repentance of sins. The greater the sin, the greater the
      repentance, the Khlysty reasoned, and following this logic they
      rejected conventional doctrines of 'right and wrong', indulging in
      sins that they could later confess to, being in this way 'pleasing to God.'

      Grigori Rasputin, the mysterious monk who had a major influence on
      the Tsar and the Tsarina prior to the 1917 Russian Revolution, is
      believed to have had links to the group, which was active from the
      17th century to the early 20th.
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