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Russian Protestant Leader and Former Businessman under House Arrest
ICC Note:
A well-known Protestant, Alexander Semchenko, is under house arrest in Russia.  While officially he is under arrest for “corrupt business dealings,” some Christians are saying, “This is religious repression and has nothing to do with economics.” Since many Protestants are considered “political outsiders” in Russia, this could very well be true.
06/22/13 Russia (Assist News)- On Russia’s national evening news on June 13, viewers saw the unshaven and ailing Alexander Trofimovich Semchenko, one of Russia’s best-known Protestants, opening the door of his house early that morning to law enforcement.
They were there to arrest Semchenko, who had recently suffered a mild stroke, as part of an investigation.

Yoder said VSEKh and other close allies of Semchenko tend to believe that nationalist government forces have regained the upper hand in their struggle with pro-Western oligarchs, and are unleashing a major campaign against Protestantism and religious freedom in general.
Kartavenko believes Semchenko has been gathering and unifying the Protestant voice, irritating the nationalist government forces.
Yoder reported he said, “They have wanted to stuff Semchenko’s mouth and now they have achieved precisely that.”
Under house arrest, the former businessman is forbidden to make public statements and has access only to a limited number of friends.
Yet forces within the RUECB are instead stressing economics.
Yoder said Vitaly Vlasenko stated unequivocally in an interview with Portal-Credo, “I do not believe that his religious affiliation is a cause for the present legal prosecution. I think only his commercial and business dealings are at stake.”
He is sorry that Semchenko’s allies interpret the current issue as a religious one.
Yoder said irregularities involving the case have reinforced suspicions that church politics are the source of the conflict. Why was only Semchenko accused? Why are not co-conspirators, who signed documents and the subcontractors who did the actual work, sitting with him in court?
Yoder said media have focused on the fact that Semchenko is a religious leader, and allowed the business issues to remain a distant second.
Yoder said Vlasenko attributes this to the media’s love for scandal, not as a government directive.

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