Christian leaders in Russia have reportedly begun to be arrested after the passing of new anti-terrorism laws that ban evangelism outside of churches.
Sergei Zhuravlyov, a representative of the Ukrainian Reformed Orthodox Church of Christ the Savior, was reportedly arrested earlier in August while preaching to the St. Petersburg Messianic Jewish community. He was charged with violating the law that bans illegal missionary activity, according to The Christian Post.
He was accused of "fomenting negative attitudes toward the Russian Orthodox Church" and of being connected to the Ukrainian nationalist political party, a party that is banned in Russia.
Zhuravlyov has been released on bail and his case has been sent to court.
The new law, which was meant to be an anti-terrorism effort, prohibits the ministry of faith in any place that is not a house of worship.
"The new situation resembles the Soviet Union in 1929. At that time confession of faith was permitted only in church," Hannu Haukka, president of Great Commission Media Ministries, said in July. "Practically speaking, we are back in the same situation. These anti-terrorist laws are some of the most restrictive laws in post-Soviet history."
Violations of the law carry a fine of $75 to to $765, but organizations who violate could face fines up to $15,265.
Publication date: September 7, 2016