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Democracy taking a step backward in Russia, Christians concerned.

By September 24, 2004

Russia (MNN) — Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a shake-up of the electoral system to boost Kremlin power. He unveiled plans to abolish direct elections for the country’s 89 regional governors, eliminate local candidates in parliamentary elections and strengthen the role of the security services. Putin believes the changes are needed to beat terrorism.

Russian Ministries Anita Deyneka, speaking from Moscow, says Mikhail Gorbachev is speaking out about the changes. “Gorbachev, the former President, has criticized this step saying it would be a reversal. Any reduction of democracy freedoms could have ramifications for religious freedoms.” Right now, Deyneka says that doesn’t seem evident, but prayer is needed to protect it.

Deyneka says fear is driving this. “There’s anxiety, uncertainty, instability, just as we have also with worry about terrorist, but I would say here, there is more anxiety as to the government’s capacity to defend and respond to this threat.”

Russian Ministries has work in many parts of Russia. The terrorist attacks hit their outreach hard in Beslan. Two of their leaders, Two brothers, lost seven children in the school massacre. Deyneka says this is giving Russian Ministries opportunities to minister. “We’re very focused, not only on the on-going ministry, but on expanded ministry in this area. And, we’re very thankful to Christians and to many people who have given to our terror relief fund. We were just overwhelmed just how people cared and wanted to help.”

Funds are being transferred to Beslan to help with funeral expenses for the 320 people that died, medical needs and believers are reaching out with the Gospel as many Russians have questions. Pray that God will comfort those that need it and that many will turn to Him as a result.

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