The upper chamber of the Russian Assembly has approved what is being referred to by one Christian organisation as an “anti-missionary bill”.
Mission Eurasia’s Sergey Rakhuba says the bill “prohibits missionary and evangelistic activity in residential areas of Russia and limits missionaries to acting only on behalf of registered religious groups. Any person speaking on behalf of a church or religious organisation will be required to carry specific documentation of their registration with them at all times. Additionally, foreign missionaries would only be permitted to work at the invitation of registered religious groups.”
He said the bill, approved on 29 June, is “the most draconian anti-religion bill to be proposed in Russia since Nikita Khrushchev promised to eliminate Christianity in the Soviet Union.
“For years we have watched as huge changes take place in Russia under the increasingly dictatorial rule of President Putin and his administration. Freedom of religion represents a threat to the current political agenda in Russia. Today, few—if any—foreign Christian mission groups have an official presence in Russia, having been pushed out by anti-evangelical regulations.
If President Vladimir Putin signs the new amendments into law, penalties will include fines and imprisonment.
Source: World Watch Monitor, Forum 18 New Service
- Thank the Lord that the Gospel will be proclaimed and that no weapon against His Word will prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
- Pray His church in Russia will not become despondent but may be moved by the Holy Spirit to be bold in living out their Christian witness.
- Pray this proposed opposition may serve to bring great faithfulness and unity to the church in Russia.