This fall Russia marked the first anniversary of the Beslan school siege. People carried flowers to the walls of the bullet-ridden School No. 1. Women held bottles of water in their hands in the memory of the young hostages whom the hostage-takers had forced to drink urine to quench their thirst.
For Beslan the tragic memories are still fresh. A year ago Beslanâ€™s women seemed dejected, despondent and desperate. Cults promising to bring back their loved ones emerged in the province even at that early stage, drawn by the flow of donations from charity groups and individuals from around the globe. Some, while still in a state of deep shock, willingly responded to their offers but as none of them proved able to perform any genuine miracles, the national media and the rest of the country ignored them.
Grigory Grabovoi, perhaps, is an exception. Last month, he invited a group of Beslan women to Moscow, covering their travel expenses and pledged to bring their dead children back from heaven for free. The publicity Grabovoi has got is astounding. Although most reports are negative, the man, who poses as the reincarnation of God Almighty himself, is in the limelight.
Some observers suggest money is the last thing on his mind; the man is after media attention. The Novye Izvestia newspaper reports that after inviting the Beslan mothers to the capital last month he had not charged them a single cent for his services.
The public and the government helplessly watch the developments while the Beslan mothers count the days to October 17, when â€” as Grabovoi has assured them â€” they will have their children back, a foreign newspaper wrote in a report. Prosecutors say they cannot do anything against as long as they have not received any official complaint…
Russia has an ancient tradition of belief in the supernatural. Despite the countryâ€™s early Christianization, Russians continued to worship pagan gods for centuries. The Soviet regime proclaimed Russia a secular state where all religions were all but outlawed, and ordinary people again turned to mystic and supernatural cults. In the 1990s, â€™healersâ€™, albeit widely condemned as charlatans, were allowed to cast their spells on nationwide television.
But Grabovoi is not just a cult leader, who says he can heal, save people and cure AIDS with his mind. The man claims a role in politics, saying that should he take over the helm he would outlaw death and impose eternal happiness on his subjects.
The media is already speculating on Grabovoiâ€™s strong ties to the Kremlin which wants to discredit the Beslan Mothers group as being deranged… Now, the Beslan Mothers are convinced the Kremlin authorities are set to destroy the group, and Grabovoi is their agent. The other day the group demanded a probe into the cult, saying he is trying to discredit their campaign for justice…