Russia (MNN) — Russian leaders are facing a dilemma. Do they try to quash protestors, or do they just let them go? Three weeks ago, thousands of people took to the streets of Russia protesting what they called "rigged" parliamentary elections. 100,000 people repeated that on Christmas Eve. Yet, another demonstration took place New Years Day, but this time they were met by hundreds of police in full riot gear. At least 60 demonstrators were detained.
Wally Kulakoff with Russian Ministries says, "They marched against politics, against the economy, against fraud. What we have today is a group of middle-classed young people who are dissatisfied with the direction Russia is going."
The latest string of protests are in response to what demonstrators call ballot stuffing and vote rigging by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. Many inside Russia believe the protests will continue after the holidays are over in a few weeks.
Despite the latest uncertainty, Kulakoff seems encouraged by what's happening in the nation–not that the demonstrations are taking place, but for another reason. "If the government allows such protests, then the government will continue to allow the evangelical church to hold evangelistic campaigns. The Russian Evangelical Church was afraid to do this. These demonstrations have given them hope and have given them an idea that they can be a part of the process."
When communism fell, many evangelicals were poor and isolated from society. Today, that's different. "The evangelical group is now the middle class of society. We have a middle class of society. We have middle class young people who are educated. We've got lawyers, people in medicine, people in the arts, we've got people in politics. They want to be part of the process," says Kulakoff.
The most recent unrest, says Kulakoff, is a great reminder for Christians around the world to pray for Russia and the problems that nation is facing both politically and more importantly, spiritually.
Kulakoff is especially asking for prayer for their Project Hope Christmas gift outreach which will come to an end around January 7th, which is Orthodox Christmas in Russia. Russian Ministries had hoped to distribute 50,000 gifts this year. But, Kulakoff says, "We're anticipating an increase of about 10,000. We hope that 60,000 children can be reached. And, we need help today. A gift box is $25, which includes a pictorial New Testament or a [written] New Testament."
There is still time to get involved. Your $25 will enable the local church to have great ministry and help a child get God's word. Click here to contribute.