The leader of a notorious quasi-religious cult, suspected of recruiting thousands of people and turning them into voluntary sex slaves, has been arrested in Russia. The man has evaded prosecution several times before.
Konstantin Rudnev, leader of the “Ashram Shambala” sect has been put in custody in the Western Siberian city of Novosibirsk and charged with sexual assault, rape and the creation of a society involved in violence and the violation of human rights, police said.
Police arrested Rudnev at one of the organization’s safe-houses. There they also found four girls who were on the missing persons list, a package of heroine, religious paraphernalia, literature and video footage.
Ashram Shambala is believed to be one of Russia’s darkest New Age religious cults, which has been operating since 1989.
The Russian sect was estimated to have as many as 10,000 members back in 1999. However due to its high secrecy, no reliable data on its current number of adherents is available. Police say Rudnev and other high-level figures recruited people interested in mysticism, occultism and the use of magic for helping their career or business through several branches. Those included the so-called “Occult Sciences Academy”, “Russian Tantric School”, “Esoteric Basics for Business” training and others.
The self-proclaimed guru, who claims to be an alien from the Sirius star system on a mission to enlighten people of Earth, convinced some of the new adepts to give away large sums of money and whatever other property they had to his sect. It was necessary for spiritual development, he explained.
Novosibirsk sect leader arrested, charged
The sect was set up more than 20 years ago, and has become one of the largest in Russia since, with branches in many cities, which were visited by dozens of thousands people.
According to experts, Rudnev’s teaching is a mixture of Castaneda books, fragments of eastern religions, esoterism, pagan cults, shamanism, yoga and Tantrism. Adepts were attracted during trainings and at courses and seminars.
The persons who ended up in the second lost their money, apartments and other property. Thy often lost ties with their relatives, so many of them were reported missing.
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