What is Going On in RUSSIA Today? PDF Print E-mail
CaptureSince Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed a new Anti-Terrorism Law into effect, news reports and social media postings have sounded the alarm that Russia is outlawing Evangelism! However, there is little reason to assume that this Anti-Terrorism Law is designed to harass, or persecute, Bible-believing Christians. There have been violent terrorist attacks by radical Muslim groups within Russia and this new Anti-Terrorism Law is primarily targeted towards those promoting Jihad.


Is Religious Freedom at Risk?

Could this legislation result in harassing Bible-believing Christians in Russia? That remains to be seen. When some media have alleged that religious freedom is at risk in Russia, they are playing games with words. Russians see Faith as inherently public and political. The worldview of Russian Orthodoxy is holistic and organic. They do not recognise the sharp divisions between church and state that secular societies, such as the US, demand. The Russian Orthodox Church is looked to by Russians for their meaning and purpose in life. Russia has returned to the principle of symphonia, or institutionalised harmonious relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state. The Orthodox Church enjoys privileges of political preference and is respected as the protector of Russia's national identity and faith.


Religious Toleration Not Equality
International pressure for Russia to recognise Islam, Judaism and Buddhism as traditional religions of Russia have been rejected. This has been considered by some Westerners as a threat to religious freedom. However, all religions are tolerated in Russia, even as Orthodox Christianity is recognised as the national religion. What critics do not take into account is: How is Russia's position any more serious than that of Poland, which has Roman Catholicism as the national religion and Israel having Judaism as the state religion? Certainly secularism in the USA is infinitely more hostile to Christianity in schools and the public marketplace, than the Russian government's position.


Rejecting Secularism

Russians reject Western secularism and consumerism. There is a tremendous revulsion against the excesses of cults, sects, the health and wealth, prosperity gospel, and the vulgar sensationalism of Western tele-evangelists. And of course there is tremendous concern for the volatile mosques which, in many cases, have promoted Jihad. From our communications with Russian believers, this seems to be the primary focus of the new Anti-Terrorism Law.


Who is Vladimir Putin?

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, was born and raised in Leningrad, which is now renamed, St. Petersburg. Putin had a secular upbringing with a militant atheist Communist Party father. However, his mother was a devout Orthodox Christian and had young Putin secretly baptised in her church. Vladimir Putin rose through the ranks of the KGB and the Soviet Communist Party, conforming to Soviet secular convention. However, in 1993 his wife suffered a car accident and in 1996 the family experienced a life-threatening house fire. At this time of conversion Putin's mother gave him a baptismal cross. He testified: "I did as she said and then put the cross around my neck. I have never taken it off since." Since then Vladimir Putin has pursued a strong Orthodox Christian stCapture6ance in Russia.


Putin's Policy

"First and foremost we should be governed by common sense. But common sense should be based on moral principles first. And it is not possible today to have morality separated from religious values." declared Vladimir Putin. He has prescribed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's vehemently anti-communist books: Gulag Archipelago, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Cancer Ward as setwork books in Russian schools. Vladimir Putin has led Russia through a dramatic transition from official atheism to a close relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church and recognising Russia as officially an Orthodox Christian country.


Bibles and Churches

Putin has authorised state expenditure of hundreds-of-millions of dollars to rebuild churches destroyed during the Soviet era, to print Bibles to make available in every hotel room, appointed chaplains in the military and attended church services regularly. 200 churches are being built in Moscow today. When Eastern Orthodox Church requested him to provide protection for the Christian minority protected by Bashar-al-Assad's regime in Syria, he mobilised the Russian military to decisively deal with the ISIS terrorist threat and prevented the fall of Syria to these Islamic Jihadists.


Russia as a Christian Nation

In the eyes of most Russians, Western values have become corrupted and pervred-square-wallpaper 1920x1080 47922erse, associated with money-grabbing banksters, criminal mobsters, religious charlatans and con-artists, lawlessness and crass consumerism. Most Russians are highly critical and cautious about these things which have become so routinely accepted in the West. But that does not mean that the people, or government, of Russia have become anti-Christian, or are intending to go back to the persecution of believers. Russia is resisting the consumerism, individualism and secularism of Western culture. The Russian government is self-consciously embracing and applying the pro-life, pro-family and moral ethical principles of Orthodox Christianity.


Cultural Contrasts

There are stark cultural contrasts between the East and the West. These cannot be solved by politicians or diplomats. Recognising their Theological and ideological roots would help towards understanding why Russian Orthodox Christians believe and act as they do.


"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2


Dr. Peter Hammond is a Missionary, Author and Conference speaker. Tel: 021-689-4480; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.frontline.org.za
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