With the number of followers estimated at well over ten thousand, a man named Vissarion in Eastern Siberia claims to be the Messiah.
And just two years ago, 29 devoted members of a group locked themselves in a bunker in the Penza region, convinced that the end of days was near.
These are just a couple of the examples of what the Duma says is cult activity in modern Russia.
“There are about 80 or 90 cults which are well known and active in at least several provinces of Russia. But if we are talking about local cults that act within one town, or one province or one area of a town, then those can be counted in the thousands,” says cult expert Aleksandr Dvorkin.
In an effort to better protect the people from predatory cults, the State Duma is considering a draft proposed by the Ministry of Justice that limits the ways that religious sects can communicate with people.
“This draft defines what correct missionary activities are. For example it forbids missionary activity on the territory of some other faith or other religious organization, and it forbids recruiting from places where people would be more susceptible – for example in hospitals, mental institutions or the army, for example,” Aleksandr Dvorkin adds.
Ilya Arkhipov, a journalist from Russian Newsweek, expects misinterpretations with the new law.
“There is a danger of misinterpretation and misuse of this legislation as there is no legal definition of a dangerous cult or sect in Russian law,” Arkhipov says.