Siberian cult leader who claimed he was alien god from the star Sirius jailed for ritual rape of dozens of disciples

Mail, UK/February 7, 2013

A Russian cult leader has been jailed for 11 years for raping and sexually assaulting his followers.

Konstantin Rudnev, 45, forced his disciples to take part in orgies, occultism, and drug-trafficking, a court in Novosibirsk, Siberia heard.

Former Red Army conscript Rudnev, a self-proclaimed alien god from the star Sirius, demanded blind submission from his followers mainly aged between 14 and 30.

'Rudnev's cult members often lost their money and property and abandoned their relatives and friends, and many of them were reported missing,' reported the Siberian Times.

'After joining up, females were forced to take part in 'ritual rapes' and orgies with Rudnov and other cult leaders, the court was told.'

One mother told how her son took up yoga classes with the sect - called Ashram Shambala - when he was 15, and three years later vanished after joining his 30,000 followers.

More than a dozen followers gave evidence against Rudnev and shocking videos were also found showing how some Ashram Shambala followers were subjected to violence and sexual abuse.

Media reports suggest some victims were under age.

His sect was set up before the collapse of the USSR but earlier attempts to convict him over a 12 year period had failed because his 'victims' refused to testify against him in court, said prosecutors who had sought a 15 year sentence.

Rudnev claims to his followers that he was sent to Earth to enlighten mankind, drawing up his own bizarre teachings called 'The Way of a Fool' which mocked traditional views of family life, study and work.

He was also convicted of creating a religious organisation infringing on people's personalities and rights.

The sect was lucrative and he became a multi-millionaire, preying on the vulnerable in a country undergoing massive transformations after the collapse of Soviet rule.

He ran yoga seminars to lure young people who then disowned their families and gave their life savings and property to his Ashram Shambala sect.

According to him, his eccentric 'teachings' took elements from the Bible, the Koran, Karmasutra, shamanism, paganism and tantric sex.

Prosecutors alleged his methods were sinister and involved the brainwashing of vulnerable people.

When he was arrested some 15 people - including a 14 year girl from Belarus - were on police search lists after being reported missing by relatives.

Rudnev's lawyer Alexander Nizhinsky said: 'We think the verdict announced today was not very objective.'

In 2004, a psychological commission found him criminally insane and he was placed in a mental hospital, but later escaped.

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