Persecution Update, August 2016: Russia

When the Soviet Union collapsed 25 years ago, Russian leaders passed a law giving wide freedom of religion and conscience. However, in 1997, an updated law was passed which greatly restricted those freedoms and made it difficult for Protestant groups to obtain proper registration with the government unless they met rigid standards. As a result, a number of missionaries had to leave the country. Then on July 7, 2016, Vladimir Putin’s government passed an even more oppressive measure regarding religious freedom and so-called “missionary activity.” Preaching, praying, and proselytizing outside of state sanctioned churches are now banned. Personal evangelism is forbidden in private homes, which affects literally hundreds of house churches across the country since unbelievers can no longer legally be invited to house church services. There are even concerns that religious expressions on social media will be banned. Many Baptist congregations, which have historically chosen not to be registered based on their convictions, are now at risk. Please pray for special wisdom and courage for Russian believers to be faithful to the Gospel no matter what the cost.