A leadership conference of 1,000 pastors in Moscow in May 2014. The pastors were deeply concerned about the worsening situation regarding religous freedom in Russia. Recently, 74 pastors were tried under the law on "terrorism." In the photo: Laura and Hannu Haukka beside Bishops Vasily Yevtsik and Alexey Rudenki.
Russia’s ongoing crackdown on religious minorities, foreign missionaries, and evangelists has earned it a spot among the worst countries in the world for religious freedom.
“This reminds us of the Soviet Era,” says Vladimir Rjahovski, an attorney with the Council For Law And Justice in Moscow.
The Churches of Russia have pleaded with us to print more Evangelism books, New Testaments and Bibles asap. We believe we have a short window of opportunity.
Freedom of worship in Russia is sharply curtailed.
The Russian government has cracked down on all the evangelical churches with new laws and restrictive regulationsthat were signed by President Putin last year.
To enforce these new laws the government is compelling all evangelical churches in the country to re-register their charter.
The government now states any Evangelical Christian church with 50 members or more is designated as a “potential terrorist target,” and as such, must hire and Russian secret security agents to be on site at every church service.
In addition, every church is required to purchase and install very expensive metal detectors to the entrance to their church.
Churches cannot afford to pay for these security measures. It is simply a way to crush the churches financially.
Some pastors are trying to work around this law by removing all but 50 people from their membership rolls. For example, churches with 400 members are removing 350 of members.
Christians whose names are removed wonder what will happen to them. Will they be forced to gather someplace else? Will they be able to attend as visitors? Right now, no one knows.
Further, the Russian government is requiring anyone who leads in the church in any way--- such as Sunday school teachers or youth pastors--- to go through government training programs and receive certificates to continue teaching.
The problem is the government has their own curriculum and will tell these Christians what they can and cannot teach.
Providentially, while the Russian government has restricted the church in almost every other area, printing presses inside Russia are still accessible. But GCMM president Hannu Haukka says that we have less than 10 months to get these books printed before the doors closes completely.