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The first known punishments of the "Anti-Sharing Beliefs" law have now been handed down under Russia's new amendments which came into force on July 20th. Three of the four citizens known to have been charged so far under the new provisions are Christians: Ebenezer Tuah, Aleksandr Yakimov, and Donald Ossewaarde.

Christ Embassy leader Ebenezer Tuah, a Ghanaian citizen living in Russia on an educational visa, was fined on August 1st after police and government officials raided a sanatorium in the city where he was performing baptisms. According to the court verdict, the Christian leader "conducted religious rites and ceremonies, including religious gatherings, posted information about his beliefs on the Internet with the aim of propagandizing, and carried out missionary activity (in)...the city of Tver without the required documents and not in the conditions provided for by (the Religion Law)."

Aleksandr Yakimov leads the local New Generation Pentecostal community in Mari-Turek. On August 3rd, Aleksandr took part in an annual festival hosted by the village of Mari-Sholner. According to the district prosecutor's office, he spoke from a stage that had a banner bearing the name of his church. On August 5th, officials charged Aleksandr with "conducting missionary activity in violation of (the Religion Law)."

On August 14th, an independent Baptist preacher, Donald Ossewaarde, a United States citizen who has lived in Oryol since 2005, was brought before a hastily-arranged hearing at the city's Railway District Court. Donald was fined for holding religious services in his home and for allegedly advertising them on the bulletin boards of nearby housing blocks. He was charged the same day and given no time to summon his own lawyer.

President Vladimir Putin signed the "anti-sharing beliefs" amendments into law on July 6th as part of Russia's "anti-terrorism" legislation. The section introducing new restrictions on "missionary" activity triggered protest from religious leaders and human rights activists. Mikhail Fedotov, Chair of the Presidential Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights, complained to President Putin on July 1st. He told the president that the amendments "create unjustified and excessive restrictions on the freedom of conscience of believers of all religions, and encroach upon the fundamental constitutional principle of non-interference by the state...."

God's Word states that "Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart" (Psalm 97:11) May the light demonstrated by His faithful servants in Russia shine so brightly that the people of their communities -- including those opposing them -- will recognize the glorious power of His Son Jesus operating in and through their lives. We pray that as a result of His manifested presence, many more will acknowledge Him as Saviour and Lord, and that spiritual revival will take place within this country in the time leading up to His imminent return.

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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