It’s not only Putin-as-Paul. The Daily Telegraph has the details of some other modern Russian cults (with Rasputin thrown in for historical flavor, although he was tamer than some). There are reportedly as many as 700 sects active in the country today, with an estimated 600,000-800,000 followers. Amongst those picked by the Telegraph these two stand out:
The Jesus of Siberia known to his followers as Vissarion. In the Siberian town of Abakan, thousands of Russians have abandoned their careers, families and homes to follow the teachings of Sergei Torop, a former traffic policeman who claims he is Jesus Christ. His more than 5,000 followers have built a rural community called Abode of Dawn out of a Siberian forest. Torop likes to don a velvet crimson robe and sports long brown hair. A strict moralist, he claims he has come back to save the world.
Piotr Kuznetsov, a divorced architect from Belarus with an unhealthy obsession for the Apocalypse. The founder of a sect called The True Orthodox Church, Kuznetsov was fascinated with the end of the world and convinced his followers to hole up in a rickety man-made cave to wait for judgment day. He predicted the world would end in May 2008. When it did not he was apparently so disappointed that he tried to commit suicide by hitting himself over the head repeatedly with a log. He did not let his followers watch TV, listen to the radio or handle money and was reported to sleep in a coffin.