New Russian Laws Threaten Evangelism
President Putin Signed Legislation in July
Russian president Vladimir Putin signed legislation in early July making it illegal to evangelize anywhere in the country outside of a church.
The law, which news outlets reported was aimed at combating the spread of extreme religious practices and terrorism, prohibits sharing one's faith anywhere that is not a government-approved house of worship.
The law's ban on missionary activity in private homes could impact small Christian congregations that do not have buildings for corporate worship. Foreign missionaries who minister to orphanages and in children's group homes are also affected by the new regulations.
Arrests by officials began in August and have already forced missionaries to leave the country.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom strongly condemned Russia's legislation, "Under the guise of confronting terrorism, they would grant authorities sweeping powers to curtail civil liberties, including setting broad restrictions on religious practices that would make it very difficult for religious groups to operate."