Russia/Ukraine (MNN) — Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev told NATO not to grant membership to Ukraine or Georgia or the region could be destabilized. NATO leaders will be meeting in Bucharest April 2-4 to consider requests by the two former Soviet republics to put their countries on the path to membership.
Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says this is just another step away from democracy in Russia. He says Russia is threatening Ukraine and Georgia for their pro-democracy moves. "They threatened them right away that they will give gas to Ukraine and eventually to European countries."
Rakhuba says Russia is concerned about its influence in the region. "Russia does not want Ukraine to lose its dependency from (Russia's) natural resources, like gas and oil. But Ukraine is taking a more pro-democracy [stance] and leaning toward the European Union and the Western community. So Russia of course is feeling very much threatened."
Rakhuba says he's concerned about other announcements coming from the Kremlin. "They are already openly talking about liquidating about 500 NGO's this year, and many of those NGO's are Christian. These are organizations that represent foreign charities, human rights watchers or somebody else. Not all of them are Christians, but many are."
He believes many expatriate Christian workers will either be forced to leave Russia, or their visas will be allowed to expire.
Mission Network News caught up with Rakhuba as he was returning from meetings with national church leaders from Ukraine, Russia and others. Rakhuba hopes evangelical churches will keep growing, but "the only way to work in the Russian society is to train, support and to equip the national evangelical church, especially the next-generation church leaders that will continue working in this environment leading the evangelical church and continue to be effective in their ministry."
That's why supporters are needed for their Schools Without Walls program. "That's the training program designed to equip the national evangelical leaders–next-generation Christian leaders. That's the key to success in Russia. So despite any political development there, the church will be successful in spreading the Gospel."