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Congregations in Kazakhstan need to receive
state permission to meet for worship.
Flickr / Martin Lopatka

Increasing numbers of Christians are being given short-term prison sentences for refusing to pay fines linked to their religious activity. Fines are now being regularly imposed for violating the country's harsh Religion Law, which includes distributing religious literature, talking to other people about religion, and meeting with others for worship without compulsory state registration or license. In addition, social projects run by religious groups are coming under increased scrutiny. Within the first 10 weeks of 2014 alone, 45 such fines were handed down. Generally, the fines equate to one or two months' average wages.

Recently, a believer named Nikolai Novikov faced prison for refusing to pay such a fine. He served five days in prison in West Kazakhstan Region, making him the 14th known individual to face jail time for refusing to pay a fine. His fine was due to his role in a congregation that has not sought state permission in order to meet for worship. During the month of July, another Christian, Anatoly Stakhnev, served 10 days of imprisonment in East Kazakhstan Region for refusing to pay a fine for the same charges.

In spite of ongoing pressure and intimidation, pray that Christians throughout this Central Asian country will resolve to follow Jesus despite the restrictive laws made by human authorities. Specifically, pray that God will bless Nikolai and Anatoly, and provide for their every need. May the faith of these two men be strengthened so they can continue to serve as 'lights' for Christ through their daily lives and unwavering witness. Please also pray that God will use these latest obstacles in Kazakhstan to refine and further empower His church so that His name will be greatly honoured and glorified.

For more information on Kazakhstan's persecuted church, our Country Report.

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Country Information

19,245,793 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Kazakh (Qazaq) (68), Russian (19.3), Uzbek (3.2), Ukrainian (1.5), Uighur (1.5), Tatar (1.1), German (1), Other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Muslim (70.2), Christian (26.2), Buddhist (0.1), Other (0.2), Atheist (2.8), Unspecified (0.5)

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and b

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Kazakhstan

Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of unregistered church communities. Until then, pray believers will effectively minister the gospel despite opposition.

Pray for endurance for those believers facing these challenges.

Pray for the adage “To be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim” to be broken; pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages and prejudices.


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Kazakhstan News

  • Parliament Debates New Religious Restrictions
    Kazakhstan Senate - Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ
    Kazakhstan Senate
    Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ (cc)

    On October 6th, amendments to Kazakhstan's religious laws were approved by the Parliament and then passed on to the Senate. The legislation added new restrictions to religious events conducted outside a building of worship owned by a registered re

  • Religious Worshippers Monitored and Fined
    Oral, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev
    Oral, Kazakhstan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev (cc)

    Since the beginning of 2021, at least 20 cases have gone to court in Kazakhstan for holding religious meetings without state permission. The fines brought against them varied from three weeks' to four months' average wages. Amendments are also pres

  • Appeal Fails to Halt Seizures
    New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from

  • Church Buildings Confiscated
    Grace Church member praying - Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18 www.forum18.org
    Church member prays outside Grace Church.
    Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18

    City officials in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building, as well as the place of worship being constructed on the same site for the Agape Pentecostal Church


Kazakhstan Videos