Thursday, January 12, 2017

RLPB 390. Russia: Duma to review anti-terror law

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 390 | FRI 13 JAN 2017

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by Elizabeth Kendal

Russian Duma
On Thursday 19 January, a Working Group formed by the Russian Duma (legislative assembly) will meet to review Russia’s controversial Anti-Terror law, also known as the Spring Package or the Yarovaya Law. Enacted in July 2016 [see RLPB 365 (8 July 2016)] the law includes anti-mission measures that have caused problems for numerous believers, particularly Protestants (especially Baptists), as well as ethnic Ukrainian and American priests, pastors and missionaries [see RLPB label: 'Russia']. The law has been heavily criticised both internationally and at home.

In September, President Putin told his ruling United Russia party that the deeply unpopular law may need to be ‘adjusted to not put people in a difficult position.’ However, nothing was done. Stratfor Intelligence notes (12 Jan 2017): ‘Instead of hitting the streets this time, Russians took to petitioning instead’. Hundreds of thousands have reportedly signed an online petition and the government is aware that if society’s concerns are not taken seriously then protests will surely follow. After discussing the issues on 19 January, the Working Group will submit recommendations to the Duma and to President Vladimir Putin.

PLEASE PRAY that our Sovereign Lord will:

* direct the thinking of the Working Group, the Duma, and President Putin – gracing them all with wisdom and insight;

* guide all discussions, recommendations and considerations, to the end that religious liberty might be restored.

‘The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.’ Proverbs 21:1 ESV


Elizabeth Kendal is the author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).