Russian investigators seek arrest of Siberian religious sect leaders

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 1, 2017: A Russian Investigative Committee (SK) vehicle outside the Moscow Regional Court where a gunfight broke out during a hearing into the "Grand Theft Auto gang" case. Five members of the gang, suspected of killing more than a dozen of motorists, grabbed firearms from security officers. Three members of the gang were killed, two injured in the gunfight. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Sep 22, 2020, TASS. Russia’s Investigative Committee will seek the arrest of three leaders of a religious sect, the “Church of the Last Testament,” also known as Vissarion’s community, the official spokesperson, Svetlana Petrenko, told reporters on Tuesday, TASS reported.

According to her, since 1991 Sergei Torop, Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov have led a religious group – the “Church of the Last Testament” based in the Kuraginsky district in the Krasnoyarsk Region, East Siberia.

The sect’s founder Torop called himself Vissarion, the Son of God. “Torop, Redkin and Vedernikov have been detained. They are facing the charges for setting up a religious group, which exerts violence over citizens and inflicts serious damage to health of two or more people.

The group’s leaders are accused of using their followers’ money for making profits. They also allegedly used psychological violence, inflicting serious damage to the followers’ health for a long time.

The special operation on thwarting the sect’s activity was conducted by the Investigative Committee jointly with the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry in the Kuraginsky district. “The search is being carried out in the houses of the leaders and members of the group,” Petrenko said.

The “Church of the Last Testament” was set up in 1991 by Sergei Torop, who calls himself Vissarion. In 1995 his followers founded a settlement in the Kuraginsky district dubbed Sun City. Its members also live in many settlements of the Kuraginsky and Karatuzsky districts in the south of the Krasnoyarsk Region.

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