Russia (MNN) — People in the eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk have been protesting Vladimir Putin’s removal of the regional governor. The protests come shortly after a referendum made it possible for Putin to be Russia’s president until 2036.
Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association says most protests in Russia tend to happen in Moscow, but these are happening on the other side of the country. “It’s a different situation. The governor of the region won the election two years ago, which was sort of a surprise because it wasn’t the Kremlin-sanctioned candidate. Well, he won. Then he got arrested on murder charges. At least, that’s what’s alleged.”
The people of Khabarovsk see these actions as Moscow interfering with their democratic process. Griffith says, “In the far East [of Russia], its governors and local officials have been able to operate with a fairly free hand. The national government hasn’t seemed to get too involved out there until now. So, it really is a unique situation. It remains to be seen what the domino effects are going to be.” So far, the Russian government hasn’t made any move to stop the protests.
Affect on the church in Russia
If that happens, Griffith says, churches will start seeing an impact from this movement. “We haven’t had a whole lot of action really against the churches. And the churches, for their part, really try to do their best to fly under the radar, and they try to obey the laws as much as possible.”
Be praying, Griffith says, that the Gospel would be free to go forth unhindered by political upheaval. “We would certainly be praying that this unrest and the protests would be able to abate over time. And certainly, that justice would be done, true justice.”
The biggest challenge facing the church right now, Griffith says, is COVID-19. Cases continue flaring up in various hotspots, and winter is approaching, which many assume will bring even more cases. Griffith says SGA partners have gotten sick with the virus. Pray that Christians in Russia would be able to stay healthy.
Finally, Griffith says, “Just pray that we would remain focused on the Gospel and showing the love of Christ in the body of Christ. Pray that we reach out with the Gospel to our community.”
The header image shows the city of Khabarovsk at night. (Image by idelgujin from Pixabay)