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The Kremlin in Moscow, seat of Russian power for centuries.
Photo: Barnabus Fund

It was reported a few weeks ago that President Vladimir Putin had until July 20th to decide whether to enact an anti-terror bill into law which, despite protests from churches, includes many clauses that are strongly anti-Christian. The bill, claimed to be primarily aimed at anti-terrorist activities, was signed into law by President Putin on July 3rd. However, Christians in Russia believe the new law will be chiefly enforced as a weapon against them.

A spokesperson for RLPB reports: "In signing the 'Yarovaya Law,' President Putin has defied the advice of business leaders, church leaders, human rights advocates, and even his own presidential advisors. It is a difficult decision to understand and disappointing beyond measure.... Impacted most seriously by the new legislation are non-Orthodox denominations, in particular Protestants, who in times of extreme East-West geopolitical tensions can be unfairly viewed with suspicion."

The new law requires that any sharing of one's faith -- even in casual conversation -- necessitates prior authorization from the state. This includes something as basic as an emailed invitation for a friend to attend church. Even in a private home, worship and prayer will only be allowed if there are no unbelievers present. Churches will also be held accountable for the activities of their members.

For example, if a church member mentions their faith in conversation with a work colleague, not only will the church member be punished but also the church, with individuals facing fines of up to an approximate $1,000 Canadian. There are also restrictions on the extent to which churches can have contact with foreigners, as any non-Russian citizen attending a church service would be required to have a work visa or they will face a fine and expulsion from Russia.

While this is a time of mourning for the Russian church, it is also a time for the greater family of God to come alongside these brothers and sisters in prayer. May the members of our various denominations stand together as one -- united across denominational lines -- not only in defense of religious freedom, but in declaring the wisdom of God and the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask that He will take this wicked attempt to silence the church and redeem it for good. May His transformative power also be demonstrated in the lives of Russia's political leaders and citizens alike...for the sake of the nation and the glory of God.

Country Information

Population
3,694,755 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African

Religion (%)
Muslim (85.9), Christian (6.4), Hindu (5.7), Other and unaffiliated (2)

Leader
Sultan and Prime Minister Haytham bin Tariq bin Taimul Al-Said (2020)

Government type
Absolute Monarchy

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Oman

Pray for spiritual openness, that the gospel might have a powerful impact on all levels and peoples in Oman.

Pray that Christians working in Oman will have opportunities to make meaningful contact with those around them and will share and demonstrate the love of Christ.

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