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Monday 25 June 2018



Two African students from a Nizhny Novgorod Pentecostal Church were fined

and ordered deported for appearing in videos of worship services. The FSB

initiated the cases. The Church has also been fined. "The charges of illegal missionary activity are completely unlawful," Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin told Forum 18.




By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18


Law enforcement agencies are increasing pressure on Protestants in NIZHNY Novgorod Region. They are using both the so-called "anti-missionary" amendment and immigration law to punish churches and their members for such activities as inviting students to parties and posting videos of worship on social media. Judges have fined and ordered the deportation from Russia of two African students at Nizhny Novgorod's medical academy for appearing in or reposting videos on the VKontakte social network.


The two students' Pentecostal church, Jesus Embassy, has received multiple

fines under Administrative Code Article 5.26, Part 3 ("Implementation of

activities by a religious organisation without indicating its official full

name, including the issuing or distribution, within the framework of missionary activity, of literature and printed, audio, and video material without a label bearing this name, or with an incomplete or deliberately

false label") and Part 4 ("Russians conducting missionary activity").


The FSB security service initiated the prosecutions of both Jesus Embassy

Church members and the latest prosecution of the Church itself (see below).


The two deported students have been permitted to stay in the country to

complete their final exams, but must leave by 30 June. "After spending 6 years in Russia, they would have become a connecting thread between our countries," Pentecostal Bishop Konstantin Bendas, commented in "Novaya Gazeta" newspaper on 17 May. "Now this thread is broken."


"The charges of illegal missionary activity are completely unlawful," Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin insisted to Forum 18. "I would like to hope that the cases were initiated by the stupidity of the siloviki, otherwise this greatly undermines the authority of Russia in the international arena."



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