Telephone threats, scams, phishing, all is attributed by the disturbed imagination of Archpriest Novopashin to “cults” controlled by the Ukrainian intelligence.
by Massimo Introvigne
Archpriest Alexander Novopashin, the second-in-command of the notorious Alexander Dvorkin in the Russian anti-cult umbrella organization RATsIRS, has discovered a new category of “cults”: “telephone cults” that, in his disturbed imagination, he accuses of destabilizing Russia on behalf of Ukraine.
In an interview to his own website, the Archpriest, whose fear of largely imaginary Ukrainian “cults” exhibits all the symptoms of paranoia, joins Vladimir Putin in expressing his admiration for “the great Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin,” who died in exile in 1954. Ilyn is controversial for his support for fascism, but is at the origins of the theory that Russia is under constant threat from the triple attack of Western democracy, homosexual activists, and “cults.”
Novopashin explains that “Destructive cults, movements, pseudo-religious organizations that tightly control their adherents have existed for a long time.” What is new today is that most of them are under the control of “the Ukrainians, or rather, their American curators and mentors. They began to direct these destructive cults and organizations.” They were used in Ukraine, and now—according to the paranoid imagination of Novopashin—are exported to Russia to organize riots there. “Now the totalitarian sects, continuing their main destructive activities, have also begun to work for the Ukrainian regime. Neo-Pentecostals and neo-pagans took an active part in the Orange Revolutions, for example, on the Maidan. There they gained good ‘combat’ experience, and now they can be used to organize and keep alive street riots in Russia.”
To keep being regarded as relevant, Novopashin needs to invent something new in each interview. This time, it is “telephone cults.” Thanks to Novopashin’s astute investigations, a “connection with the special services of Ukraine” and “cults” was identified for phone calls inciting young Russians to suicide or claiming that there are bombs in schools or shopping centers. “Cults” and Ukrainian intelligence, according to Novopashin, even try to recruit young Russians to do sabotage work: “Young people are looked out for in social networks, their posts are carefully studied, their contacts are checked, and the most suitable ones are identified who could perform this or that sabotage work.”
And you should not believe, Novopashin adds, that when Russians receive phishing calls and are defrauded of their money they are victims of common crooks. Not so, says Novopashin. Telephone scams “have existed since the appearance of the first telephones in apartments. But agents of the Ukrainian Center for Information and Psychological Operations decided to start using them for their own purposes. Call centers have been created and continue to be created on Ukrainian territory, whose operators call Russians, pretend to be employees of banks, the police, the tax office, and by deceit or blackmail convince them or force them to transfer large sums of money to their cards. And then this money goes to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” “Cultists” who “know human psychology well also work here. They know how to mislead: first they cause stress, against the background of which critical thinking weakens in people, and then they force them to do something.”
Poor Novopashin claims he was himself a victim of the “telephone cults.” “One day a man called me, he reports, introduced himself, said that he was fighting in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. First, he said that he liked my articles and interviews…, asked permission to call back. The next time he began to say that perhaps I do not know everything about what is actually happening in Russia and in Ukraine, he could reveal some facts that few people know and that will surely change my opinion about what is happening. There were several such calls. The last time he openly urged me to accept the position of the Ukrainian regime, which will be generously paid. I gave counterarguments which he did not like, he began to be rude and threaten. In the end, I received a photograph of a singed carcass of a pig in my messaging service with an inscription that this is what I am and what should be done with people like me.”
One can suspect that, since there is something comical in Novopashin’s tall tales about “cults,” he was just the victim of a practical joke. However, he believed that “a professional psychologist was talking to me, because I understand this: the construction of phrases, intonation, in short, the ‘well-wisher’ had a good command of the psychotechnics of speech … All conversations with him were recorded by me and transferred to the competent authorities. I did not hang up calls, because I needed such communication in order to know in practice exactly how specialists from the Ukrainian special services are recruited.”
If it was a joke, Novopashin did not understand it.