Navigation for Spiritual Outlook

 A Heart and Soul Documentary from the BBC World Service

Witches, magicians and healers have built a multi-million dollar industry in Russia. Olga Smirnova investigate why so many Russians believe in the occult while the Russian authorities are trying project the image of Russia as a modern country with the Orthodox Church as the dominant system of belief?

Olga will step behind the scenes of the TV programme the Battle of the Psychics which has attracted multi-million audiences, and speak to participants who are asked to investigate murders and disappearances, which the Russian police are unable to solve.

She will travel from Moscow to her native St Petersburg, where she grew up surrounded by images of Russia's most famous mystic, Rasputin, to find out how educated, middle-class Russians are turning to the black arts for spiritual guidance and how it highlights Russians’ popular reaction to the economic and social crisis in Russia, providing a new angle on it. What does this says about the efficacy of Putin’s use of the Orthodox Church to unify Russians.