Russia (MNN) — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dominated world headlines for three weeks. Western nations have condemned the violence, especially against civilians. But Russians have heard a very different story. State TV has presented the invasion as a humanitarian mission to liberate Ukraine from Nazis.
A new Russian law criminalizes referring to the conflict as a “war.” Journalists risk going to prison for 15 years. A Moscow radio station, popular since the fall of the Soviet Union, was taken off the air.
One Russian journalist compared the situation to George Orwell’s novel 1984. Several employees of state-run tv channels have quit their jobs.
Anxiety in Russia
But some information about the disastrous war has leaked through, says Lauren Libby with Trans World Radio, “because a lot of the mothers are getting texts and phone calls from soldiers who are involved in the conflict.”
Thousands of Russian soldiers have died in the war, though the Kremlin has obscured the true numbers. Libby has spoken to Russians concerned about how much the economy will suffer under severe Western sanctions.
Meanwhile, TWR continues to broadcast in Russia. “We’re keeping it on the Kingdom, keeping it apart from politics. We’re trying to encourage people and give them hope in the midst of a very hopeless situation.”
How to pray
Libby believes God is working among Russian hearts. Ask Him to strengthen the believers and pray for an end to the war. Libby says, “When you live in a propaganda-rich environment like that, for a believer, it’s really hard. You say, ‘Well, what’s God’s kingdom and what’s my country?’ Whether it be in the US, Belarus, Russia, or wherever you are.”
“You want to support your country and yet you also want to support the kingdom of God. It’s a real tug on your heart.”
TWR continues to broadcast in Belarus as well. Libby says, “Belarus has, in many ways, an identity crisis between Ukraine and Russia. They have ties both ways.”
The header photo shows a destroyed Russian military vehicle in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine via Wikimedia Commons)