Russia’s ‘appointed’ president fears unrest

By March 1, 2012

Russia (MNN) — While presidential primary election season is underway in the United States, presidential elections will be held Sunday in Russia. However, the leading candidate isn't new. It's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin served eight years as president before he was forced from office because of constitutional term limits. Now, political wrangling has him running again.

This hasn't come without protests, however. Thousands protested what they claim were unfair parliamentary elections a few months ago. Now, protesters are already protesting what they are calling unfair presidential elections, which Putin is all but certain to win.

President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says this is a very important week for the Russian people. "I believe this week will bring quite a bit of change that will affect the Russian people, global politics, and will even affect mission work and the evangelical movement around the world."

Putin criticized the opposition plans for rallies over what it fears will be a fraudulent election, saying Wednesday it is "unacceptable" to prejudge the vote. Rakhuba expects Putin's presidency will affect freedom. "This time, with all of this protest," says Rakhuba, "[Putin] will use all kinds of dictatorial tactics to hold on to power. And it means there will probably mean more pressure."

More than 30,000 people gathered in peaceful protests demanding honest elections over the weekend. However, few believe they will be fair and honest.

Rakhuba says there's only one answer to seeing that change in Russia — a heart change. That's why Russian Ministries has their School without Walls program. "We are reaching out to younger people — those who are in law school, in professional training. They work in a corrupt society. And they bring that ethical, biblical light into the corrupt society, changing it from within."

Russian Ministries is also doing that with medical students, training them to use their profession to share the Gospel.

Rakhuba says religious freedom in Russia is under serious threat, which is why their School without Walls program is important. You can have an eternal impact on Russia's future. "It costs $48 a month to train one leader over a year. And we would greatly appreciate it if people would consider supporting Russian Ministries in this effort."

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