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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Irina Yarovaya, Chairperson of the State Duma Committee on Security

CHRISTIAN LEADERS RESPOND TO VLADIMIR PUTIN’S NEW RUSSIAN LAW ON RELIGION

F

ollowing the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the evangelical church in Russia enjoyed 25 years of freedom. “Sadly, however, a new set of repressive laws known as the ‘Yarovaya package’ went into effect Wednesday, July 20, which threaten to eliminate these very freedoms,” Sergey Rakhuba, President of MISSION EURASIA, told ASSIST News Service. In a media update obtained by ASSIST News Rakhuba says: “These laws are alarmingly similar to the 1929 Soviet law on religion that the Stalin administration used to unleash persecution against evangelicals, causing a catastrophe for millions,” Rakhuba said. “Despite the protests of religious leaders, these laws were nevertheless signed by President Vladimir Putin. The collective prayers and appeals by evangelical Christians to the president

went unheeded.” Rakhuba explained that “Under the guise of anti-terrorist rhetoric, these laws are ushering in a new era for Russia and Russian believers that will destroy religious freedom, sow seeds of fear, and encourage the search for internal enemies (i.e. members of any religious group other than the Russian Orthodox Church) and the fight against them. “No longer will people feel safe sharing their faith with a neighbor or a passerby. Moreover, all communications providers, including the internet, will be subject to surveillance and censorship. Both individuals and religious organizations will be threatened with unbearable fines,” Rakhuba said. “We don’t know yet how these laws will be implemented, but it is already clear that they are achieving their goal of creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion within society, while allowing

8 | The Christian Pulse, August/September 2016

the government to restrict freedom in violation of the Constitution and international norms. Believers will soon need to make a very important choice: whether to obey God or these new Russian ‘laws.’” Rakhuba continued: “The Russian evangelical church will soon find itself behind a new ‘Iron Curtain’ which closes society off from the outside world. Mission Eurasia, however, will not abandon the church in Russia because we firmly believe that Russia needs the gospel more today than perhaps at any other time in history. The evangelical church in Russia desperately needs our support. “It is especially critical that we support the Next Generation of leaders who are ready to serve in any circumstance. These leaders are competent and dedicated, courageous and bold, free and creative. Simply stated, these are the people who understand but who are not afraid.

The Christian Pulse August/September 2016  

Welcome to the latest issue of The Christian Pulse, the magazine for www.mychristiandaily.com. This issue we feature 'How Not to Sacrifice Y...

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