"Prison Bars" by Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

Cult leader who claims to be reincarnation of Jesus arrested in Russia

Sep 24, 2020

By Shaun Walker

Russian authorities mounted a special operation to arrest a former traffic police officer who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus and has run a cult based in the depths of Siberia for the past three decades.

Helicopters and armed officers stormed communities run by Sergei Torop, known to his followers as Vissarion, and arrested him and two of his aides. Russia’s investigative committee said it would charge him with organising an illegal religious organisation, alleging that the cult extorted money from followers and subjected them to emotional abuse.

Torop, 59, with long grey hair and a beard, was led by masked troops to a helicopter. The operation involved agents from Russia’s FSB security service as well as police and other agencies. Vadim Redkin, a former drummer in a Soviet-era boyband who is known as Vissarion’s right-hand man, was also arrested, along with another aide, Vladimir Vedernikov.

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