Alexander Novopashin gives occult and political significance to court cases where he crossed swords with a metaphysical movement called Sirius.
by Massimo Introvigne
As Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine escalates, so do conspiracy theories by Russian anti-cultists. Archpriest Alexander Novopashin is the Vice President of the Russian national anti-cult umbrella organization Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Cultic Studies (РАЦИРС/RATsIRS), later shortened as “Center for Religious Studies.” The Center was part for many years of the European anti-cult organization FECRIS. In April 2022, its name disappeared from the list of international affiliates posted on FECRIS’ website.
However, it is unclear whether the Center has been expelled from FECRIS. Its President, Alexander Dvorkin, continues to be a FECRIS’ Board member according to publicly available French administrative documents. CESNUR wrote to FECRIS on September 3 seeking clarification of the current status of the Russian affiliates and Dvorkin within the organization, but has not received an answer. Meanwhile, Novopashin’ website continues to present its organization as a FECRIS affiliate.
This year, Novopashin was involved in two court cases with followers of Russian spiritual master Tatyana Mickushina, who established an organization called Sirius based on Theosophy and Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s Church Universal and Triumphant. She claims to receive revelations from the Theosophical Masters, as well as from Moses, Jesus, and other prophets and deities. Her group was banned in Russia and Mickushina moved to the United States, although organizations based in her teachings still exist in different Russian regions. In 2021, a woman from Novosibirsk who had joined Sirius in the United States visited her parents, who tried to keep her in Russia to separate her from the group.
Her story was described in an article in the Komsomolskaya Pravda, which featured an opinion on Sirius by Novopashin. Nothing is more similar to an opinion by Novopashin on a “cult” than an opinion by Novopashin on another “cult.” You simply ask, and Novopashin would answer you that this is a “destructive cult” using “brainwashing.” Predictably, about Sirius he wrote that it is a “destructive and very dangerous cult,” with a “cult practice developed in the smallest detail, which absorbed elements of Chinese hsinao (brainwashing), African voodoo with its rich experience of zombies and spells that suppress human will, and the most modern methods of forbidden neuro-linguistic programming.” Novopashin has said the same of dozens of other “cults.”
Both the young woman mentioned (pseudonymously) in the article and one of the Sirius-derivative organizations still operating in Russia sued the Komsomolskaya Pravda and Novopashin for defamation. This was not a bright idea, since the outcome of a court case in present-day Russia where a “cult” founded on the revelations of Ascended Masters attacks a prominent Orthodox cleric and hero of Putin’s anti-Ukrainian propaganda can be easily predicted even before the trial begins.
Celebrating his victory through an article written by a friendly journalist and published on his website, Novopashin gave a metaphysical interpretation of the court cases. The article, clearly inspired if not written by Novopashin, claimed that “for several months now, Russia has been fighting international Satanism represented by the United States in the territory of the former Ukraine. An exhaustive description of this process was given by our President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin [when he mentioned in his September 30 speech that Russia is fighting Satanism in Ukraine]. The spiritual component of world politics is now manifested as never before.”
This cosmic battle against Satanism and “spiritual warfare,” the article continues, “takes place not only on the battlefields in Donbas, Odessa, Kyiv or Lviv, but also in the courtrooms of our country.”
Novopashin believes that the court cases filed against him were orchestrated by the American intelligence, which directs the effort by different “cults” to undermine Russian Orthodox identity. Sirius attacked him in court “clearly according to the same manuals as other cults of American origin. This once again confirms the existence of a single center controlling all cults based in the United States.”