National Geographic documentary (16 June, Wednesday)
on present-day "messiahs", including the one in Siberia:
Vissarion, "Jesus of Siberia"
Vissarion was in a construction unit of the Soviet army from ages 18 to 20. He took a job as a night shift traffic cop in 1985.
In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Military was in total disarray. With their pay and self-esteem at rock bottom, many military personnel were at a crossroads of their lives, looking for something such as religion. It was during this transitional period that
Vissarion and his followers first established the Church of the Last Testament in Siberia.
The birth of Vissarion's Church of the Last Testament was far from easy. In the 1990s, devotees were reported to have died, either by suicide or due to the harsh living conditions and lack of medical care.
Residents of the Abode of Dawn were plagued by ticks and other biting insects and many have been infected with Lyme disease. Vissarion’s ministry includes writing letters to people outside his following, with some including addresses to conservationists, former Russian President Putin, and even to the Muslim world.