As Russia struggled in the ’90s, Ratnikov says he used his telepathic prowess to prevent a border war with China, to stave off the handover of the Kurile Islands to Japan, and to prevent foreign psychics from accessing President Boris Yeltsin’s pickled brain. (Ratnikov also warned about the rise of “psychotronic weapons,” more menacing than nuclear arms, which would be “used to take over the minds of millions, making them zombies.”) But when NATO threatened a bombing campaign against Russia’s traditional Serbian ally, Ratnikov realized he and his team needed to add to their arsenal. As such, a few weeks before the bombing began in earnest, Georgy Rogozin, a deputy to the former head of presidential security—a man who claimed to resuscitate souls of the dead, no less—studied a photo of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and fell into a deep, hypnotic sleep. While riding the parapsychological waves, Rogozin, according to Ratnikov, communed with Albright’s consciousness. “By tuning in on her image, our specialists were able to glean [information],” Ratnikov said. “We found a pathological hatred of Slavs. [Albright] resented the fact that Russia has the world’s largest reserves of minerals. In her opinion, the future of Russian reserves should not be disposed to a single country but all of humanity under the supervision, of course, of the United States.”

Why Rogozin didn’t bother to access, say, NATO’s bombing schematics, or the deepest secrets of Albright’s statecraft, Ratnikov didn’t say. But the Kremlin’s Merlin had come away with another fact just as perturbing: The U.S. wanted Siberia, and wouldn’t rest until it owned Russia’s grandest mineral deposits.