Russia’s Anti-Missionary Law
On July 7, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law highly controversial legislation aimed at terrorism and extremism. However, part of the law harshly restricts missionary activity, which is very distressing news to Russian evangelicals.
The law restricts proselytizing in people’s homes, where many evangelicals gather for worship and home groups, as well as on-the-street evangelism.
What especially worries FEBC and other media organizations is that the new law limits media-related evangelistic activities, including social media and Internet postings. Laymen will no longer be able to share the Good News without special permission.
It is not exactly clear how the new law will impact evangelistic activities in Russia. Some Christians hope the law will be used against Islamic terrorist groups, but many fear that local government officials and Orthodox zealots will use it to restrict evangelical activity.
Implications of the Law
Individuals found guilty of violating the new law will be fined up to $800 USD, while organizations found in violation will be fined up to $15,500. Foreigners found in violation will be deported.
FEBC affiliates in Russia who have committed themselves to bringing the Gospel to Russia since the first radio station launched in 1992 are under tremendous pressure from the government.
Despite all these difficulties, FEBC continues to grow, reaching greater number of listeners through new media, which includes satellite, online, smart phone apps, and other new technologies, in addition to FM broadcasting. “Today, we are reaching more than a million listeners on a daily basis,” said Dr. Victor Akhterov, director of FEBC Russian Ministries, “and this number will grow as we invest more into new and creative ways of delivering the Gospel.”
FEBC is also establishing strong presence in Ukraine and other countries in that area in order to be broadcasting to Russia from there, if need arises.
Please support the Russian church during these difficult and uncertain times.
For more information on our ministry in Russia and how you can be praying, or to make a donation to help support FEBC Russia’s ministries financially during this difficult time, you can click on the buttons below.