As crazy as 2020 has been, I just didn’t think there was going to be enough room for someone claiming that they were the reincarnation of Jesus and starting a cult that people were actually joining in Siberia of all places, but here I am putting my hands up and admitting that I was wrong.
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In a somewhat crazy story, this is actually what has been going down in Siberia since 1991 so maybe we can’t give 2020 all the credit here. Serge Torop used to be a traffic cop and locksmith, but then decided that he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and founded the Church of the Last Testament after changing his name to Vissarion Christ the Teacher.
Unsurprisingly, it looks like this was all a front to exploit his vulnerable followers as he was arrested on Tuesday and charged with running an illegal religious organisation. Turns out that Torop – I’m not gonna use his fake Jesus name – and two top aides were extorting money from his followers and also subjecting them to both physical and psychological abuse. Who could ever have thought that he might be up to something like that?
Anyway, the cult were housed in a village in the deepest depths of Siberia that’s now called ‘The City Of The Sun’ in the Kuraginsky District of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The place was raided in a major military operation and Torop and his aides Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov were taken away in helicopters to be held accountable for their crimes.
You can see some clips from the raid below and boy does it look serious:
Major military-style operation in Siberia with dozens of armed men storming the Sun City, one of the communities of the cult leader Vissarion. Former traffic policeman Sergei Torop, known as Vissarion, his aide Vadim Redkin were reportedly detained & flown away under armed guard pic.twitter.com/QsuoxUIWd8
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) September 22, 2020
Man, I know that we’re probably unlikely to ever see Torop again given the shadiness of Russian law, but I actually think it’s kinda cool that they took the threat of this guy to his followers seriously and decided to do something about it. There are so many of these weird ‘organisations’ operating all over the world that are clearly up to no good and nothing ever happens to them, so fair play to Putin or whoever for stepping in and doing something about it.
Oh and in case you’re not convinced that this Torop guy is a complete piece of shit from the mere fact that he runs a cult, here are a couple of facts about how he operated:
- His followers – known as Vissarionites are not allowed to smoke, drink, exchange money, or consume meat, coffee, tea, sugar, yeast bread and wheat products.
- 59 year old Torop has been married twice and divorced his first wife to marry a nineteen year old who has lived with him since she was seven.
- He abolished Christmas and replaced it with the anniversary of his first sermon.
- Here’s a direct quote about how they treat young girls in the village: ‘We have a school of noble maidens here. We’re preparing girls to become future wives, future brides for worthy men. She has to understand not to rise above the man, not to be proud of her independence but to be shy, inconspicuous and weak.’
- Also in said village – in one of the coldest parts of the world where temperatures drop to -50C in the winter – Torop lived in a comfortable chalet while his followers reside in wooden huts.
Yeah, sounds like a really great guy doesn’t he? Not really sure how he managed to obtain thousands of followers, but I guess some people out there just join a cult and ask questions later.
Glad to see that won’t be an option for them anymore – although you can bet your bottom dollar that some asshole in the village has seen this as his opportunity to assume Torop’s role – although Torop himself only faces 12 years in jail if found guilty of using ‘psychological violence to cause serious harm to his followers’. Seems like a tad light of a sentence, but again I guess there’s still a good chance that we’ll probably never hear from him again, no matter what happens to him.
For more of the same, check out Russia’s worst prison. Could be where Torop ends up and it looks like the complete opposite of fun.