A set of laws restricting Christian expression and evangelism are on their way to being passed in Russia.
According to ChristanityToday.com, the laws would ban all evangelism outside of the church and other religious gatherings. They would affect Christian missionary work, preaching, teaching, and other evangelistic activities.
The laws have been called the most restrictive in Russia’s post-Soviet history. They have already passed in both Russian legislative bodies, the Duma and the Federation Council.
“Most evangelicals—leaders from all seven denominations—have expressed concerns,” Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia and a former Moscow church-planter, told CT. “They’re calling on the global Christian community to pray that Putin can intervene and God can miraculously work in this process.”
The laws are designed to emphasize the Russian Orthodox Church, which is heavily tied to Russian nationalism. Protestants in Russia make up only about one percent of the population.
Many spoke out against the laws:
“If this legislation is approved, the religious situation in the country will grow considerably more complicated and many believers will find themselves in exile and subjected to reprisals because of our faith,” wrote Oleg Goncharov, spokesman for the Seventh-day Adventists’ Euro-Asia division, in an open letter.
If the laws are passed and an individual or group violates them, they could be fined up to $780 for an individual and up to $15,000 for an organization.
Publication date: June 29, 2016