There is little to no religious liberty in Putin’s Russia, and I’m not referring to interfaith pluralism; Russia is rife with examples of non-Christian religious groups suffering from state persecution. Even within Christendom in Russia, Christians who do not completely recognize the authority of the Kremlin’s Moscow Patriciate are persecuted. There are several public examples of how the Russian State uses its power to defend the Russian Orthodox Church’s (and the Kremlin’s) monopoly on faith.

Protestant missionaries usually suffer under Russian law and government authorities. Take for example the unfortunate case of Donald Ossewaarde, an American Baptist Missionary in Russia who, for hosting a Bible study in his home in violation of Russia’s Yarovaya Law[1], was arrested, fined 40,000 rubles, intimidated by Russian authorities, and forced to end his ministry. Also citing the Yarovaya Law, a Russian court ordered the destruction of 40 Bibles distributed by the Salvation Army that were not properly registered with the state. Moscow’s suppression is not strictly confined to Russia, either, as we have photographic evidence depicting the injuries inflicted upon Ukrainian evangelical pastor Aleksandr Khomchenko when Kremlin operatives in eastern Ukraine tortured him to convert to Russian Orthodoxy.

Even within Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodox Christians who don’t adhere specifically to the ROC are persecuted. A Russian court ordered for the only Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Russia to be demolished at the expense of the Ukrainian diocese, and ROC clergy condone the Kremlin’s war in eastern Ukraine as a type of “orthodox jihad” against Ukrainian Orthodox apostates who do not recognize the one true and “rightful” Eastern Orthodox patriarchate—the Moscow Patriarchate.