Chicago Tribune 1/10/94 Some Russian voters put faith in superstar healer Associated Press

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Chicago Tribune 1/10/94 Some Russian voters put faith in superstar healer Associated Press NEW YORK--Like the legendary Siberian mystic Grigory Rasputin, faith-healing superstar Anatoly Kashpirovsky is getting close to Russia's reins of power--dangerously close, some say. Kashpirovsky won a seat in the new Russian parliament in the bloc of ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, the biggest vote-getter in the Dec. 12 elections. Where Rasputin left off in using mystical powers to influence the last Russian czar, Kashpirovsky can pick up in the ever bizarre world of Russian politics. He claims he can cause scars to disappear, cure hernias, asthma and AIDS by remote control, and change hair color and eliminate wrinkles via video hookup. His American publicist, Dr. Michael Zimmerman, bills the Ukranian native as "the greatest discovery of the 20th Century." By some accounts, especially his own, Kashpirovsky is among the most popular people in Russia thanks to his televised "hypnotherapy" healing sessions. He became a household name in the late 1980s as disillusioned Soviet citizens searched for something else to believe in. Kashpirovsky, 54, was elected while in the United States, where he has been trying to win converts since Oct. 3. He did not campaign for office. In a recent interview in New York, he seemed to be a reluctant politician, becoming tense and defensive when asked about his political views. He was not planning to go to Tuesday's opening session of the new parliament. Millionaire businessman Konstantin Borovoi last month issued a warning about Kashpirovsky: "I am deeply concerned by the use of medical techniques in politics...," he said. "It is dangerous." Kashpirovsky portrayed himself as a champion of human rights, defined in a way akin to the Soviet definition: the right to be free of crime and to have housing. He also disassociated himself from Zhirinovsky. He has he was approached by Zhirinovsky's party and agreed to run because "I know what the people want." But he said he has never met Zhirinovsky and is not a member of the party.


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