Tensions run high in Chechnya in advance of elections; a ministry keeps vigil.

By August 27, 2004

Chechnya (MNN)–Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov reportedly is vowing to kill the person who wins Chechnya’s presidential election which takes place Sunday. The statement was posted on a website used by the separatists and it also threatened to kill other pro-Moscow politicians. The election, scheduled for 29 August, is being held to replace pro-Moscow President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, who was assassinated in a bombing carried out by Chechen separatists in Grozny in May.

Russian Ministries’ Sergey Rakhuba says Chechnya is a bad place to be right now. “The tension in Chechnya is still at a pretty high level. The unrest after the previous president was assassinated in May and all [in] the summer months, there was lots of tensions between the groups in Chechnya.”

Rakhuba explains that they’ve been teaching the indigenous church to stand on their own feet, in case expatriates have to leave. “We will see what will happen this election so if one of the candidates, and whoever he is wins, and he’s not supported by the insurgents, then it’s another wave of violence, and it is a dangerous place to be and especially, to continue ministry.”

Since this is a predominately Muslim area, Russian Ministries needs funding to help facilitate a relationship. “With the funds we can support all the ministry that’s going on there. We can support the national workers, provide humanitarian aid,” says Rakhuba. “Christians that come and help, they risk their lives to reach out to those who live in war. It has a huge impact. And, many Chechens are more open to the Gospel.”

Pray that many will turn to Christ.

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