MOSCOW, May 2, 2000 (Kyodo) - A former officer of the Russian Black Sea fleet has gathered a group of followers in the Crimea to practice a form of religion apparently taken from Japan's AUM Supreme Truth religious cult, the Russian TV network NTV said Tuesday.
The report said the group, led by a Black Sea fleet officer identified phonetically as Valeri Minthev, has about 30 members and gathers in Simferopol, a main city [on the] Crimea peninsula, Ukraine.
The group is known as "Miracle Garden of Supreme Truth" and its members, including former AUM followers from Russia and Ukraine, wear orange-color garbs when practicing meditation, NTV said.
A couple who said they were former "Miracle Garden" followers told NTV that "everything started with AUM."
The couple said "Miracle Garden" followers are not allowed to sleep more than five hours a day and they are forced to listen to incantation tapes provided by the cult.
NTV said Ukraine authorities are keeping a close eye on the cult.