Was tragic supermodel, 20, who threw herself from her ninth floor New York apartment part of a sinister cult?
By Tamara Abraham
Last updated at 9:42 PM on 4th May 2011www.dailymail.co.uk
The suicide of Ruslana Korshunova almost three years ago stunned the world. A beautiful, seemingly happy supermodel, at the peak of her career, the 20-year-old had everything to live for.
But on June 28 2008, the young beauty tragically leapt to her death from a building site adjacent to her 9th floor New York apartment.
She had no history of depression, and there was no trace of alcohol or drugs in her body. In short, the reasons that she took her own life remain a mystery.
Now a filmmaker claims that many clues point to a controversial organisation known as Rose of the World.Suicide: Supermodel Ruslana Korshunova, 20, leapt to her death from a building site adjacent to her 9th floor New York apartment on June 28 2008In his research for a documentary into the Kazakhstan-born model's suicide, Peter Pomerantsev found many references to the Moscow-based group, which describes itself as 'training for personality development'.
Writing about his experiences in Newsweek, he told how he discovered that a close friend of Ruslana, Anastasia Drozdova, also committed suicide, in 2009 in Kiev, under similar circumstances.
Like Ruslana, Anastasia was a budding model - and also ended her life by jumping from a block of flats.Anastasia's mother, Olga, told Pomerantsev: 'I searched her room for clues. I found these papers from somewhere called Rose of the World.
'Strange words: "Anastasia, your lullaby is winter's end. You're on your way."
'What could they mean? What is "Rose of the World"? I know she went there with Ruslana.'
The filmmaker, who acquired hidden camera footage and recordings of seminars at Rose of the Worlds, reveals that the group's philosophy is based on a discipline called Lifespring, which, during the Eighties, was the subject of so many lawsuits, it was forced to shut down its U.S. operation.
Members, he explains, are asked to speak of their worst experiences, and each in turn relates horrific stories of rape and abusive parents.[/b]
Pomerantsev tells how members of 'The Rose' remember Ruslana as an 'enthusiastic speaker'.
She is said to have discussed her father's death and her failed romance.
Meanwhile, the article reports, friends of the two models noticed changes in their behaviour.
'Anastasia would start rows, then burst into tears,' it reads. 'She missed castings, became reclusive. Ruslana became aggressive, for the first time ever swore and cursed. Both [she and Anastasia] lost weight.'
Rose of the World assistant Volodya told Pomerantsev that the changes in Ruslana's behaviour were 'normal'.
He quotes her saying: 'Ruslana had what we call a "rollback". She felt a little strange. You'd find her wandering round town, unsure what she was doing there.
'Maybe she'd cry at night. But she couldn't have killed herself. We cured her of any problems she might have.
And Anastasia? She was messed up already. We tried to help her, we really tried. But she refused transformation. Blame modelling, maybe drugs, not us.'
Pomerantsev's account of footage from The Rose is illuminating. He writes: 'When you enter The Rose, there is darkness and shouting, everything is designed to stun the conscious mind, suspend critical thought.'
He describes a 'life trainer' who 'talks so fast you can't help but be confused, the microphone set at a level your head starts hurting.'
But Ruslana and Anastasia, it appears, found something of a refuge in The Rose and signed up for three-day 'training' courses that cost almost $1,000 each.
Pomerantsev reports that Ruslana spent three months attending sessions at The Rose before returning to New York.
She wrote at the time, just a few months before her death: 'I'm so lost, will I ever find myself.'
Of course there could be many other reasons for Ruslana's suicide. Former model and psychologist Elena Obukhova believes the fashion industry is to blame.
And sociologist Emilie Durkheim added that young women from former Soviet republics are especially vulnerable because parents have no traditions or value systems to pass onto their children.
It is also no secret that Ruslana struggled with the break-up of her tycoon boyfriend.
Her friend Luba told Pomerantsev: 'He's gorgeous. Girls drop at his feet. He's been with so many of my friends. All of them perfect.'
When the relationship ended, Luba continues, 'she couldn't understand. Suddenly she was one of a thousand girls. One of a million. A no one.'
Ruslana's social network page, on which she posted many poetic missives, was one of the ways she expressed her sorrow.Her internet postings reflect an inner torment, with admissions that she was 'hurt' and 'lost'.
In one, she tellingly wrote: 'My dream is to fly. Oh, my rainbow it is too high.'
And the suggestion of flight is also echoed by Pomerantsev, who noted that her body was found 8.5 metres from the building from which she fell.
'8.5 meters? That's not a fall. That's a leap. That's almost flight. She didn't stand on the ledge and take a step off. She took a run and soared'.
Ruslana was most famous for starring in a campaign for Nina Ricci's house fragrance, and graced the cover of numerous magazines including French Elle and Russian Vogue.
She also featured in ads for DKNY, Vera Wang and Christian Dior among others and was hailed as 'the next big thing' in a profile in Vogue.
Friends refused to believe it was suicide.
'There's no way she would have killed herself,' said friend Kira Titeneva, shortly after Ruslana died. 'She loved life so much.
'She was my best friend. I talked to her Friday night and we were talking all the gossip.'
She added: 'She was like an angel. She was just working, working, working.'