Ten years ago, Marina Tsvigun's name was known nationwide in Russia. She was known under her nom de guerre Mother of the World, Maria Devi Christ. The woman headed the sect called the White Brotherhood.
In October of 1993, several thousands of young Ukrainians made a walking trip to Kiev - the trip was accompanied with mass hysteria and suicides regarding the doomsday of October 24th, as sect's leaders predicted. However, the horrible day was then delayed. The culmination of the whole event took place on November 10th 1993, when 25 members of the sect and its leaders came to Kiev's Sofiysky Cathedral and arranged a pogrom of Orthodox sanctuaries. Sect's leaders and members were arrested, criminal proceedings were instituted. The investigation lasted for two years and revealed sensational news about the damage that the sect had caused to people's physical and spiritual health.
On February 9th 1996, Ukrainian citizen Marina Tsvigun-Krivonogova-Kovalchuk (this is the number of names that she has officially changed in her life) was sentenced to four years in prison at a correctional colony. Her husband, Yury Krivonogov (known as Yuoann Svami, microelectronics specialist, the secret chairman of the totalitarian sect the White Brotherhood), was sentenced to seven years in prison. During the Soviet era, Yury Krivonogov was employed at one of the secret institutes of the KGB in Kiev - the institute was studying methods to affect the human mind.
In the summer of 1994, we had a meeting with one of the former chairmen of the institute. The man said, when the USSR collapsed and the KGB system was abolished nationwide, Yury Krivonogov expropriated a part of the secret equipment of the institute. Krivonogov also mastered hypnosis and other methods of the psychological pressure. He met Marina Tsvigun in the city of Dnepropetrovsk, highly estimated her abilities and then announced her the "goddess" on Earth. Marina was a good journalist, although she had another passion in life - love. However, after another abortion she lapsed into a coma, and then started suffering from hallucinations. Yury Krivonogov said that Marina's soul had risen up to the sky, having left the room for the divine universal soul. With the help of the knowledge that he obtained at the KGB institute, Krivonogov made all his friends and followers, including Marina herself, believe that.
The sect founded by Marina Tsvigun and Yury Krivonogov stirred up an incredible resonance in the society. Almost the entire press of the former Soviet Union was writing about "white brothers" for ten years. Nothing special happens about it at present, but it looks like an expectation of a storm.
It took hundreds of "white brothers and sisters" years to recover from a very serious psychological frustration. The sect had two peculiar features: it was chaired by a woman and it was a sect of the "domestic production," in contrast to other foreign cults. Viktor Shokin, deputy Prosecutor of Ukraine said: "It became known during the investigation that Krivonogov and Tsvigun's sect counted a lot of people of various age. Members of the sect would sell their apartments, country-houses, give their money away to the "brotherhood." The everyday life in the sect reminded the one in a concentration camp. People were supposed to obey their leaders in everything, they could not have an opinion of their own. They practiced denunciations, they suffered from undernourishment, but Tsvigun and Krivonogov were spending a lot of time travelling abroad. Where did they take money for the printed production - millions of leaflets and booklets were published. I do not think that their income was based on donations only v the sect's leaders have been everywhere around the globe, except for Greenland and the Antarctic, maybe."
The investigation lasted for more than two years, but it did not provide full and precise answers about the number of people in the sect and its financial sources.
At present, there are up to five million people in Russia, who have suffered from the activity of various sects. The threat of the massive hysteria is still actual in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, because hundreds of White Brotherhood followers still live there. When Marina Tsvigun was released from prison, she started working actively in several regions of Ukraine. Marina accused her husband of treason and divorced him. She decided to revive the sect, which had caused so much trouble and grief to thousands of people. The ideas of the sect are being propagandized again, although the leader does not urge people to commit suicides now. In Russia, the sect became very active in the Ural region, particularly in the city of Ekaterinburg. As any other successful sect, the White Brotherhood still enjoys very good financial opportunities. The sect has a website on the Internet now too. In Ekaterinburg, the sect conducts its activities at railway stations and other busy places. Sectarians take electric trains and sing songs about eternal love and peace to passengers there. They also offer video and printed material. Sect members buy plots of land on the outskirts of Ekaterinburg, build houses there, try to purchase prestigious mansions in the center of the city.
The Ekaterinburg eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church says, the White Brotherhood attempted to be registered in the city as an official religious organization, but it failed to succeed. The sect-s members have changed too: they are presumably middle-aged and elderly people. The majority of them think of themselves as unhappy people. The sect's primitive ideal of love can attract only vulnerable people. It is not ruled out that hundreds of men and women will decide to commit suicide for the sake of the woman, who considers herself the mistress of people's lives.