A 43-year-old loose-nut named Konstantin Rudnyov, who claims to be an alien spiritual master from the star Sirius, was arrested in Russia on charges that he created a “nationwide totalitarian sect that brainwashed and sexually abused members,” according to police.  Rudnyov was detained in a cottage owned by the group in Novosibirsk on September 30 2010 along with 38 followers, all citizens of Russia and Ukraine. Among them were four teenage girls whose parents had reported them as missing, police said in a statement. A package containing 4 grams of heroin was found in the pocket of Rudnyov’s shirt, the statement said.  “Rudnyev was hiding in an apartment in Berdsk [a town in the Novosibirsk Region],” Russia’s popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda quoted a police source as saying. “However, according to Russian law, we could not just break the door down without any reason. Luckily, in one of the apartments a missing underage girl from Minsk was staying, who was also involved in another criminal case.”  Ashram Shambala, established in 1989, grew into a powerful cult with branches in many cities across Russia in the late 1990s, the local branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its web site Tuesday. The sect operates as a network of “ashrams,” or small communities living in the same house or apartment, and has branches in more than 20 major Russian cities, as well as in Ukraine, Greece and Denmark. The sect was estimated in 1999 as having approximately 10,000-15,000 members. The amount of current members is unknown. 
Rudnyev, who calls himself “the Great Shaman Shri Dzhnan Avatar Muni,” was detained on October 23, when a special police unit raided two apartments in the Novosibirsk Region shortly after receiving information that the sect leader had returned to West Siberia from Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.  He was put on the federal wanted list in the 1990s after it was determined that the sect’s ideology was “anti-social and anti-family, deliberately opposing itself to society in general.”  Rudnyov, who claimed to be an alien sent to Earth to enlighten mankind, combined Oriental esoterica and the writings of Carlos Castaneda with elements of yoga and shamanism in his teaching, investigators said.  The group also offered yoga courses and self-help camps that attracted thousands of people.  For almost 20 years the “Great Shaman” led the sect, based on strict hierarchical principles. He had two close assistants and the middle level consisted of “teachers,” who recruited new members at seminars and via the Internet.  Practices in the ashram reportedly involved orgies in which young female members were coerced into sex with senior members. Oh, and everyone had to turn their property over to the head alien in charge.  Most of the group’s members were young people aged 17 to 30 who were forced to leave home, friends and families under psychological and emotional pressure, investigators said. Sect members are reportedly only allowed to sleep 3-4 hours a day, ate only strict vegetarian food two times a day, and went to the bathroom only after receiving permission from their teacher. According to several Russian news sources, group sex and violence are standard teaching methods. 
“We seized a number of books and ritual objects,” said Igor Stepanchenko, deputy head of Novosibirsk’s anti-organized crime department.  In the apartment police seized 23 laptops, a large amount of suspected psychotropic substances, and a small amount of marijuana.  Law enforcement officers have spent 11 years attempting to bring Rudnev to court, but the previous three cases opened against him — in 1999, 2004 and 2008 — were closed because Ashram Shambala members refused to testify. In 1998, police in Novosibirsk tried to bring the “Great Shaman” to justice but he escaped and is thought to have spent five years in the sect’s branches abroad. In 2004, he returned to Novosibirsk and was later detained in the Siberian village of Plotnikovo. Psychiatrists subsequently ruled that he was criminally insane. Rudnyev was then put in a mental asylum, from which he successfully fled some time later.  This time he may be in deeper troubles, if he is convicted on charges of rape, sexual abuse and human rights violations, Rudnev faces up to 15 years in prison. Police are still considering whether to add heroin charges to the list.