[Presenter] Vladimir Putin is a reborn Apostle Paul. Such is a new postulate of a sect that has been operating in Nizhniy Novgorod Region for several years already. A former prison inmate, now known as Mother Fatinya, is attracting more and more followers under her wing. People are abandoning their families and selling their flats – all for the sake of learning the so-called truth. The local [Russian Orthodox] diocese is aware of the sect but cannot do anything about it.
[Correspondent Galina Kalashnikova] No-one has seen anything like it before: a woman, with a censer in her hand, [conducting a service] at the altar is nonsense even in our informal times. The priestess calls herself Fatinya Svyatonosnaya [Russ: bearing sainthood]. She is also known as Svetlana Frolova, a former manager of a warehouse. She was convicted in the past, after that she made a living as a healer and then reinvented herself as the head of a Resurrecting Rus Russian Orthodox church. Mother Fatinya says she is a daughter of the divine father and his eye on earth.
[Fatinya, addressing the congregation, uncaptioned] Children, reaping is in progress. The apocalypse is in action. Reaping is in progress, it is.
[Correspondent] However this is not the most shocking revelation of the Svyatonosnaya. Svetlana Frolova’s special strength is her prophesies about the leaders of the state and the church.
[Svetlana Frolova, captioned as founder of the sect] The spirit of Apostle Paul is in our President Putin, Vladimir Putin. The Almighty revealed it 18 months ago. Yes, he did. President Putin will be the tsar of Russia. Such is God’s will.
[Correspondent] All that would have been an amusing anecdote if it had not been for the Nizhniy Novgorod sect’s all too serious activities. It has dozens of recruits already.
Yevgeniy Shelepov has lost practically the whole of his family to Fatinya Svyatonosnaya’s commune. His wife has left work and his daughter has labelled him a devil. The people who once were his nearest and dearest now call him their main enemy. And all that because Yevgeniy has refused to render any financial support to Fatinya.
[Yevgeniy Shelepov] We nearly sold a flat that we had bought all together for my elder daughter. They are being told at the sect that one cannot live in debt. But in order to buy the flat, I had to borrow quite a lot of money.
[Correspondent] The Nizhniy Novgorod diocese is very much concerned about the Svyatonosnaya’s activities. The main danger presented by sects like these is that they camouflage themselves to look like traditional Russian Orthodox faith, while in fact they distort and discredit it.
[Igor Pchelintsev, captioned as archpriest, press secretary of the Nizhniy Novgorod diocese] Had the enemy come in his true guise, no-one would have followed them. [But they say:] we are Russian Orthodox believers, we are surrounded by icons and crucifixes; do come and see us and for a small amount of money – like the price of a flat or a car – we shall cure you of everything.
[Correspondent] There are now several hundred people in Svetlana Frolova’s sect. They are mainly people from the cities who arrive in the suburb of Nizhniy Novgorod in search of a miracle, cure and the meaning of life. Here no-one is denied that. As the popular saying goes: we are ready to indulge your every whim, provided you are prepared to pay.
[Video shows the sect’s leader conducting a service for a handful of followers at their place of worship that, on the surface, looks like an ordinary Russian Orthodox Church.]
Apr. 12, 2005