Christians are concerned about elections in Russia

By March 5, 2004

Russia (MNN) — Just about everyone is predicting a landslide victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin in elections March 14th. However, many Christian organizations are concerned the country may be heading back to its old ways.

Russian Ministries’ Sergey Rakhuba says he’s concerned. “The concern it, that unfortunately, he doesn’t have any competitors in this election. He’s showing signs of a dictatorial leadership,” says Rakhuba.

Those concerns became even more apparent, says Rakhuba, when Putin sacked his entire cabinet and named an unknown tax collector at Prime Minister, two weeks before the election.

However, Rakhuba says Russian Ministries is preparing for any possible interference of religious freedom. He says, “We’re trying to mobilize the national church, that young people, young leaders, who would be trained in a new time, to challenge younger church leaders and take the baton and lead the Russian evangelical church further. He wants to, “encourage them to be more effective in reaching out to the young generation.”

Russian Ministries is doing this through their regular seminars at their 25 region training centers around Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

While Rakhuba doesn’t expect Russia to fall back to the old atheistic Soviet mindset, there is a chance religion will become more political. “We see more and more President Putin is being surrounded by the patriarch and his assistants in the public. And, it shows that Putin emphasizes that the Orthodox church is a part of the Russian history and culture,” says Rakhuba. He says, “We have concern about evangelical groups and democracy, and then the free choice of religion and faith in Russia.”

Pray that Russian Ministries will be effective in their training.

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