Fast cars, extravagant vacations and very much still in business: Lavish lifestyle of the cult leader linked to Russian supermodel who plunged to her death in New York revealed

The Daily Mail, UK/November 21, 2014

By Will Stewart

When Ruslana Korshunova plunged to her death from a Manhattan building, her death was surrounded by speculation.

The key to the riddle appeared to be that she had been part of a bizarre Russian cult, called the Rose of the World.

Now MailOnline can reveal the identity of the man behind the cult - and how, despite claiming to have ended its existence in the wake of the 20-year-old Vogue cover girl's suicide, all the signs are that the cult is still in operation.

A new book says 20-year-old Ruslana Korshunova threw herself off a Lower Manhattan building after joining the controversial Rose of the World organization in which 'life coaches' allegedly humiliated and blamed members for wrongs in their lives.

Author Peter Pomerantsev claims she turned to the sect and later committed suicide after problems in her love life, though her mother Valentina has made clear she believes the Vogue model and catwalk star was murdered.

An unnamed male leader of the cult was quoted as saying: 'Ruslana was typical victim... [sic] Sometimes it's better to commit suicide than not to change.'

The man who led the Moscow-based outfit when the Kazakhstan-born beauty died in 2008, Vladislav Novgorodtsev, 44, claimed later that his cult had gone out of business as a direct result her death, and that of another vulnerable model Alexandra Drozdova, killed the following year after falling from a window in Kiev.

'I had to shut down my business because all the clients abandoned me,' he told newspaper Izvestia in 2011.

'And why did it happen? We were doing good things and some supermodels committed suicide because of their troubled way of life.'

Despite this, a MailOnline investigation in Russia this seek has found that the wealthy Siberian-born Novgorodtsev, 44, still heads an organisation apparently run on the same lines as Rose of the World, though it does not now use this name, and that he enjoys a luxury lifestyle.

It is called Novgorodtsev Education, a company which was also the front for Rose of the World.

Novgorodtsev's training company offers courses for stressed-out Russians, for around $700 for a three day session.

Novgorodtsev describes himself as 'a master in understand the motives of human behaviour'.

'Thousands of people became our clients - there are famous bankers among them, owners of publishing houses, showmen,' he boasted.

With branches in Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, he claimed: 'I was searching for the secrets of famous people.'

His aim is to show people 'a different way of thinking'.

Married with two children, he claims to have lived previously in the United States, and pictures show him globetrotting on five-star vacations - in Monaco and the Maldives, taking snow breaks in Courchevel and Switzerland, as well as time off in Ibiza and Venice.

A Formula One fan, he and his wife Tatiana are shown on his social media sites posing beside a yacht in St Tropez and driving a rented Ferrari around France.

Expert Alexander Dvorkin, president of Russian Association of Sect Study Centres, has branded Rose of the World a 'psycho cult'.

'The person is psychologically broken,' he said. 'Having passed several stages, the life inside this sect becomes the only real life.'

Asked to comment on claims in the new book, Novgorodtsev did not reply on Tuesday or Wednesday.

A graduate specialising in radio electronics who worked on the Russian space program, he knew Ruslana - nicknamed Rapunzel because of her long locks - in Moscow before her suicide, as he explained to the New York Daily News in July 2008 shortly after her tragic death.

At the time, he said: 'I saw her and heard her stories, stories that no one else has heard.'

He added: 'The most important thing about her and her internal world was that she was lonely. There was no one who was really dear to her, except for her mother.'

She had visited the training centre of Roza Mira - the cult's Russian name - in Moscow in January and February 2008 searching for peace of mind.

'She had problems for months,' claimed Novgorodtsev, adding: 'She had a romance in Moscow, but nothing could happen because the young man was married.'

He did not name the man, but we can reveal him as Ruslana's 'life coach' at Roza Mira, Vladimir Vorobiyev, then 22, only slightly older than her.

She tried to call him a short time before her death.

'Maybe she felt something towards me, we saw a lot of each other,' he admitted.

'I supported her, her life was not smooth. But she knew that I was married and that my wife was pregnant then. I told Ruslana that I would never leave my wife and that she could expect only support from me.'

The pair did not speak on her final call to him, but had communicated some hours earlier.

'She said she was feeling unwell, that she did not want to talk to anybody,' he said.

'She was not in a right mood. Before this, she often complained about her bad mood. She once said: 'Even if I am not here any more, the whole world will talk about me'.'

A source who knew her at the cult claimed she had 'tried suicide five times in different ways' from the age of 15. 'It was a loneliness that no one understood,' said this source.

Vorobiyev denied she was depressed but said she was 'just sad', and this was linked to money problems because her modelling career had gone into reverse gear and she was no longer getting work.

Novorogtsev, a devotee of Russian writer, poet, and Christian mystic Daniil Andreev, also claimed she was 'asking for money'. She wanted 10,000 roubles - then around $400 - and this 'would save her', he said.

'That was 10 days before she committed suicide.'

He alleged that people involved in her business affairs 'barely paid her' - without saying who. 'She wasn't rich and all the money she had, she sent to her mother.'

People closest to Ruslana are on record as contradicting the theory that she died as a result of a cult which newspaper Izvestia dubbed as 'strange', and which evidently caused her to become aggressive, use bad language and lose weight.

Her mother - who visited the center after Ruslana's death - alleged her daughter had been killed and linked it to a financial fallout with an unidentified 'agent' and an also unidentified ex-boyfriend.

'I tried to get back the money we paid in advance for the training,' said Valentina Korshunova.

'Not long before her death, Ruslana had paid for new training sessions for herself and me. But she attended just one course and decided to leave.

'It was not easy to do - this sect gathers people in groups and pushes them to the idea that they are one family. It is very hard to leave your group.

'They were pursuing Ruslana for a long time and demanded that she should return to her group. But she did not do so. Nor did she worry about it.

'The sect is dangerous, I agree, but it was not what pushed Ruslana to suicide. I am sure my daughter was murdered. '

She cited a US expert who explained she fell to the ground 15 meters away from the base of the building.

The distance led to her death being recorded as suicide but her mother disputed that conclusion, saying that instead, it proved she had been thrown.

'It means she was thrown off the balcony. And all of this is about money. I did not get a penny from those millions earned by Ruslana.'

A friend of the supermodel, Eva Beher, said: 'Ruslana enjoyed the training. She was a strong character, she loved life.

'I doubt the training would make her commit suicide. She was always a reasonable and clever girl.

'When I saw her for the last time in Almaty in spring 2008, she was a bit sad and depressed.

'But there was no problem to understand why - she loved Moscow and dreamed of moving there from Kazakhstan but something went wrong with a flat, and there were other problems.'

Three years after Ruslana's death she said: 'I still do not believe they have discovered the true reason of the tragedy. I think her job is the most likely reason.'

She claimed that a year before her death Ruslana had discovered she was being fooled by an unnamed agent who was 'pocketing her money'.

She said: 'The damage was about $500,000. Ruslana was about to sue them but she could not do it before she turned 21.

'And suddenly some days before her birthday, she died. So I think it is not to do with that sect at all.'

Despite the new book's claims against the sect, Izvestia newspaper reported three years ago that a source in Russia's powerful Investigative Committee, akin to the FBI, claimed there was a lack of evidence against Novgorodtsev's organization.

'We spoke to relatives and friends of the girl,' said the source.

'We tried to find the evidence proving the guilt of the psychological centre.

'But there was no evidence. Honestly, it was a hopeless case.

'It is always hard to prove the fact of pushing towards suicide an in this case Korshunova did not even left a final note which would point at those who are to blame.'

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