Russia Shuts Down Churches Activities

In Moscow, Russia, the Church of God of Christians of the Evangelical Faith was evicted from the theater that they had been worshipping in since 1999. On March 28, the theater director was summoned to the culture committee where he was given a letter telling him to cancel the lease with the church after it had been described on a TV broadcast as "a sect bringing an alien culture."

Sergei Ryakhovsky, the church's pastor, also told Keston News Service that he "fears that this cancellation of their lease may be the first signs of a change of state policy regarding religious organizations. This, in spite of the fact that the church's drug rehab center is well respected in the Moscow region, and in January Ryakhovsky had received a medal from President Vladamir Putin for services to the Fatherland."

In Russia's Far East, the 200-member "Victory of Faith" Full Gospel Church in Amursk was ordered liquidated on April 5 by the justice department. Keston News reports the liquidation of this church and 11 daughter churches appears to be "the culmination of local persistent efforts to restrict the activity of the church, which places a strong emphasis on missionary work."