Russian Doomsday Sect Members May Leave Cave on Orthodox Easter

March 26 (Bloomberg) — Members of a Russian doomsday sect may emerge on April 27, Orthodox Easter, after spending about six months in a cave near the city of Penza, a regional official said.

Law enforcement officials enlisted the help of sect leader Pyotr Kuznetsov to contact the 35 people holed up in the cave, Penza Deputy Governor Oleg Melnichenko said today in comments posted on the government’s Web site. Penza is located about 650 kilometers (400 miles) east of Moscow.

The sect members, including four children, entered the cave in November to await the end of the world. Kuznestov did not join them, the government said.

After a psychiatric evaluation, Penza authorities declared Kuznetsov mentally incompetent, the Interfax news service reported.

Previously, Kuznetsov was charged with inciting religious hatred and creating a religious group that practices violence against its members and incites them to ignore their civic duties, the news service said.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday March 26, 2008.
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