Police uncover weapons, cash and jewels in raid on Siberian religious sect

The leaders of the notorious Vissarion’s community are accused of profiteering from the religious activity by siphoning money from their adherents

TASS, Russia/September 23, 2020

Moscow -- Police found weapons, cash and jewelry during a raid conducted on the premises of a religious sect, the Church of the Last Testament, also known as Vissarion’s community, in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk Region, a law enforcement source told TASS.

"During the search, cash to the tune of 3 mln rubles ($39,300), expensive alcohol, weapons, knives and presents in the form of expensive watches, pens and golden jewelry, including crowns, were found," the source said.

According to the interlocutor, the officers seized a Saiga semi-automatic rifle and handguns. "Some weapons were registered. We are verifying if the rest of the arms were registered as well," the source said.

On September 22, law enforcement agencies detained three ringleaders of a religious sect known as the Church of the Last Testament: Sergei Torop (Vissarion), Vladimir Vedernikov and Vadim Redkin. According to the Investigative Committee, these three have headed the cult since its creation in 1991. They are facing charges of establishing an illegal religious organization whose activities involve violence against citizens and causing harm to their health and welfare.

The cult leaders are accused of profiteering from their religious activity by siphoning money from their adherents. They also allegedly used psychological violence, inflicting serious long-term damage to their followers.

The Church of the Last Testament was set up in 1991 by Sergei Torop, who dubbed himself Vissarion, a self-proclaimed messiah. In 1995, his followers founded a settlement in the Kuraginsky District called Sun City. Other cult adherents live in settlements of the Kuraginsky and Karatuzsky districts in the south of the Krasnoyarsk Region. 

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