Russia has been in the news nearly every day lately, mostly for the possibility of the current U.S. presidential administration’s connections to the country and its president Vladimir Putin. However, politics shouldn’t be the only--or even the most prominent--reason Russia is in the news.
Christian persecution is increasing in Russia under a set of laws Putin signed last year known as the Yarovaya laws. These laws restrict the freedom of citizens in a number of ways, including specifically restricting Christians’ right to evangelize.
Relevant Magazine notes that, although the laws are billed as anti-terrorism measures, in truth they target Christians who wish to evangelize outside of designated religious locations. The laws even prevent Christians from sharing the gospel in their own homes.
Many Christians have already been arrested and punished for breaking these laws, which are viewed as the most restrictive laws adopted in Russia in the post-Soviet era.
In addition to restricting Christians’ religious freedom, the laws limit the free expression of citizens via the internet. Service providers are required to keep records of all interactions for six months, which gives the Russian government greater power and would allow them to cut off service to customers who are not complying with the government’s wishes.
Two other things the laws do are to decriminalize domestic violence and to crackdown on human rights organizations, both of which pose obvious concerns.
Some American politicians, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have noted Putin’s severe human rights abuses and encouraged the U.S. to repudiate any friendship between the U.S. and Russia.
During the Senate confirmation hearing of President Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Rubio stated, “Despite his extensive experience in Russia and his personal relationship with many of its leaders, he claimed he did not have sufficient information to determine whether Putin and his cronies were responsible for ordering the murder of countless dissidents, journalists and political opponents,” Rubio said of Tillerson.
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Publication date: March 29, 2017