Moscow: The southern Russian town of Beslan has been inundated by conmen, self-proclaimed missionaries and fringe churches as charitable funds are released to families of the victims of September’s hostage tragedy, the Izvestia newspaper reported today.
As authorities disburse amounts of up to 1 million roubles ($44,000), parents of children who died have been offered the chance to “resurrect” them for the equivalent of $US1,367 ($1,730).
Aides of a professed Russian spiritualist based in Moscow advertise his miraculous powers and tout equally expensive “do-it-yourself resurrection” book and video courses in the grieving community, the paper wrote.
A number of marginal religious groups and churches also sent people to the North Ossetian town in recent weeks, with reported cases of relatives passing the funds on after receipt.
Local officials said they expelled members of the Church of Scientology who had moved into premises in the school where the hostage crisis unfolded to afford “psychological assistance” to the population.
At least 330 children, parents and teachers died after a group of mainly Chechen and Ingush gunmen seized the school with around 1,200 people on September 1.
The stand-off ended in a bloodbath three days later when the terrorists detonated bombs and opened fire on the hostages, prompting a chaotic assault operation by Russian security forces and local men.