By Slava Tsukerman

Among the many events connected to the start of the new term of Putin’s presidency one is especially exotic.

The cult that worships Vladimir Putin as a saint has announced that myrrh has begun to drip from its icon of the Leader of the Russian nation. The newspaper and website of the cult followers informed the World: “God is giving us signs of His gracious presence.”

The Church of Russia’s Resurrection was founded about seven years ago by Svetlana Frolova, a former director of a railroad station, prosecuted for а plunder in especially large sizes. The railroad cars with valuble cargo were systematecally desapearing at her station. Frolova was acquitted, which is difficult to credit to any other reason then corruption, as her further activity clearly shows that she left her job with a capital that nobody could acquire on a salary of a railroad station director.

After her release from jail Frolova moved to Bolshaya Yelnia, a small town near the Volga River in the Nizhny Novgorod region. She built there a new church and founded the new sect. The sect reportedly consists entirely of women, who meet in a three story brick building that belongs to Frolova, who now calls herself Mother Photonia. In her interpretation this name in Greek means “One who is bringing light”.  Mother Photonia and her followers believe that Putin is a reincarnation of both St. Paul the Apostle and Vladimir the Great, the first Christian ruler of the Ancient Kievan Russia.

She declared in her group’s website: “Now Vladimir Vladimirovich will baptize anew our pagan country!”

The Church of Russia’s Resurrection competes many years with official Orthodoxy – Mother Photonia christens, reads the burial service, cures, issues newspapers and helps the needy – including to orphanages and a local female prison. From the point of view of Russian Orthodoxy, everything that is going on in the church, represents scandalous crime.

But neither Mr. Putin nor the Russian Orthodox Church have so far acted to stop activity of the exotic cult.

Mr. Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, has made passing reference to the sect in the past, saying that it is “impressive” that they “think so highly of his [Putin’s] work,” but cautioning that it is against the ten commandments to worship “false idols.”

These facts look especially disturbing in comparison with the event that is almost for three month is a subject of the most heated discussions in the Russian media and Internet. The feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot recorded in the Moscow Christ the Savior cathedral a “punk prayer which contained words: “St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin! Drive away! Drive away Putin!” The recording became a YouTube hit.

The women were masked and it is almost impossible to identify them. Nevertheless three of suspected members of the band were arrested and put into prison where they are supposed to wait for four months for the criminal trial, staying in the company of real criminals: robbers and killers.  One of the singers is a feeding mother, who was taken away from her baby. The Patriarch and many representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church are demanding the maximum punishment for the young women (seven years imprisonment) for blasphemy and “hurting believers feelings”. They are organising demonstrations against supporters of “enemies of the faith”.

The Russian public is drastically divided over the issue. Poll shows that 46 percent of Russians consider seven years of imprisonment to be an adequate criminal punishment of participants of Pussy Riot punk group.

Updated: July 2, 2012 — 3:07 pm
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