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ICC Note: Despite the fall of the Soviet Union over two decades ago, complete religious freedom remains an unrealized dream in most of Russia. Animosity towards protestant Christians remains high in the government. The article below reports that a pastor was fined in the first known incident since Russia enacted a new Demonstrations Law, which could be used to prevent Christians from protesting when their services are shut down by police or, as in the recent case of a Moscow church, their buildings are demolished.
09/27/2012 Russia (CIC) – Aleksandr Kravchenko, a Russian pastor, has been fined for conducting religious worship without state approval. He is the first religious leader in Russia known to be fined under the country’s new Demonstrations Law. Pastor Aleksandr insisted in court that advance notification is not legally required for religious events.
In Moscow, Pastor Vasily Romanyuk may be prosecuted for holding an “unapproved meeting” after he led Sunday worship at the ruins of his church. His church was demolished by authorities earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in the country’s north, police raided a Sunday morning church service at a hall believers have rented for over two years.
Please pray that these Christian leaders will continue to witness boldly for the Lord. Pray that they will rely on the Lord to give them the words to say when they stand before accusing authorities (Matthew 10:19). Pray that Christians throughout Russia will not be deterred from spreading the message of Christ’s forgiveness and redemption.

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