A religion-obsessed Russian tycoon has ordered his employees to embrace the Russian Orthodox Church because of drought and fires or lose their jobs.
Vasily Boiko-The Great has told his staff to stop living in sin or be sacked. Vasily Boiko-The Great, who controls a major agricultural holding, has written to his 6,500 employees, ordering those “living in sin” to get married in church within two months or be fired.
The deadline, 14 October, is a Russian Orthodox festival. He has also banned any of his employees or their wives from getting abortions, saying he does not want to work with “killers.”
The farming tycoon said he was forced to resort to extreme measures after Russia was struck by an unprecedented drought and thousands of wild fires this summer.
“Such an extreme situation is punishment for the Russian people’s sins,” he told daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. “I need to take extreme measures including looking at the way my employees treat God.”
Mr Boiko-The Great added the suffix to his surname by deed poll and said he found God himself after a stint in jail on as yet unproven fraud charges.
His employees have reacted with bemusement to his directive, while government officials have warned the tycoon he risks breaking the country’s labour laws.
Mr Boiko-The Great said he was unfazed. “This is a private company and people working here must follow the rules,” he said.