RUSSIA: Putin signs sharing beliefs, “extremism”, punishments

 

Russia, where sharing your faith now makes you a ‘terrorist threat’.
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Sharing your faith in Russia now makes you a ‘terrorist threat’
A new law rushed on to the statute books in Russia could mean stiff fines for Christians who share their faith.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Russia, who fear that President Putin’s new legislation could signal a return to Soviet-style persecution.
The controversial new law, which comes into force next Wednesday (July 20), aims to crack down on terrorism and extremism. Christians fear it will have the effect of linking them with potential terrorists.
The law, passed by the Russian Duma (assembly) last week, will make it unlawful for Christians to share their beliefs with others in their homes, online and in the open air – anywhere outside a registered church building in fact. So a conversation about God with a non-believer in the street could be seen as illegal missionary activity.
Russian church leaders plan to lobby deputies newly appointed to the Duma in September to amend the law while Christian lawyers are also planning to appeal to the Constitutional Court.   The penalty for breaking the law will be a stiff fine: the equivalent of six weeks’ wages for an individual – and 20 times that (up to one million roubles) for an organisation.

  • Pray that our brothers and sisters in Russia will know that our God is sovereign and the government of the world is on his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).
  • Pray that the Duma will amend the new law in response to the outcry over it.
  • Pray God’s peace for members of unregistered churches, including an estimated 1,000 house churches in Moscow, threatened by the new law.

(Sources: Christian Today, Christianity Today, Forum 18)

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Russia-map

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18

President Putin has signed amendments imposing harsh restrictions on sharing beliefs, including where and who may share them, and increased “extremism” punishments, introduced with alleged “anti-terrorism” changes. There are widespread Russian protests against the suddenly-introduced changes, and may be a Constitutional Court challenge.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed into law legislation on so-called “missionary activity”, further restricting the public expression of freedom of religion and belief, including in the media and online, Forum 18 notes. The amendment – which has been rapidly introduced – caused widespread protests, but was signed on 6 July and the signing was made public at Moscow lunchtime on 7 July. It was published on the presidential website that day and comes into force on 20 July.

Lawyers working to protect the right to freedom of religion and belief are already preparing for an appeal to the Constitutional Court. At…

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