Opium, Anyone?

Experts agree that starting from the year 2000 there has been a considerable growth of different sects in Russia. According to various sources, there exist approximately 300 to 500 sects in the country. A number of people participating in those occult organizations however has already reached a million. About 70% of those sect members are young people between the ages of 18 and 27.

It is rather difficult nowadays to find a person who has never heard of an organization called “sect.” It is not uncommon to have friends among the sect members either. My former classmate Vasilii Piskun ended up in one of such sects named “Jehova’s witnesses” when at the age of 13 his father got murdered and his mother quickly remarried one of her boyfriends and abandoned her household for good.  As a result both Vasilii and his older brother were left alone. It did not take long for the Jehova’s members of the sect, to express their kindness to the poor kid. In about a month from the time of their acquaintance, Vasilii began spending his leisure with his new friends.

In the course of one year, this little boy has undergone major changes. From a poor and naïve boy Vasilii has literally turned into one of the members of the Jehova’s. He was able to master their theory, attended various meetings and also started sharing all the newly acquired knowledge with his classmates. Most importantly, Vasilii gave away all his money to the church, that tiny portion he got from a pension for his father. His free time was mostly occupied by selling books, souvenirs, candles as well collecting donations.

Vasillii left for Irkutsk right after his graduation. Loneliness seemed to become his best friend, as Vasillii’s former classmates expressed no desire to communicate with the boy. Perhaps, there was a reason for such behavior. All their talks have constantly led to the Bible interpretation, to various discussions about the end of the world and the sinful nature of all humans.

Vasilii’s mother however had a different approach to her son’s behavior. In fact, she favored it. “Let him follow his path in a way he does” she claimed, “Anyway, it is better than being a drug addict.”

It is no mistake that sectarianism is being often compared to drug addiction. Psychologists claim that it is actually much easier to quit drug abuse rather than to leave a sect. The newly initiated members of a sect are usually driven towards a complete mental and physical exhaustion. According to psychologists, it takes about 11 months for a Krishnait to readjust to a normal lifestyle. A Munit, on the other hand, requires 16 months to go through the rehabilitation. Scientologists, unfortunately, are absolutely incapable of recovery.  

Despite such rapid emergence of various sects in the country beginning from the early 90s, nothing has been done  to refrain peaceful population from their negative influence. Neither laws nor any existing regulations in the country are capable of protecting people from loosing their possessions and personal freedom. Therefore, upon joining a sect an individual becomes absolutely helpless.

Today, many totalitarian sects have undergone major changes in their propaganda methods, thus preventing a possibility of being completely shutdown. Such was a major topic of yesterday’s discussion under a name of “The Totalitarian Sects as Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

If people only perceived the true essence of the rapid growth of various sects in Russia as a mere money-making mechanism, life in the country could have been better, claims psychological expert Rostislav Rogoshin. Krishnaits, for instance, are needed to sell books-it is a major publishing house. As far as Aum Senrike is concerned, their members used to construct computers-the more computers one produces, the closer he becomes to God....

According to Urii Polischuk, a professor and a director of the Psychiatric Department of the Moscow’s Institute, sect members possess an extremely strong support from those at power. Anatoli Chubais, Russian First Deputy Chairman of the Minister of Finance, for instance, expressed his support toward the Scientologists.

Author`s name Olga Savka