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Russia: Pastors fined for Worship

Recently, two Baptist pastors in Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad were fined 2,200 rubles (US $75) after their community “sang psalms and spoke about Christ” on the street, according to Forum 18 News Service.

Kaliningrad police told Forum 18 News that the pastors did get permission in advance to sing, as required by law. “But they didn’t have permission and they had no intention of getting it!” a police official remarked, clearly irritated by the Baptists’ actions. Asked why permission is necessary, the police official replied, “That’s the law in Russia!”

Aleksandr Legotin, one of the two Baptist pastors, insisted that the Baptists held a religious service and not a demonstration so  the legal requirement to notify the authorities in advance should not have applied. “We follow the law very carefully,” he told Forum 18 News. “And under the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] we have the right to freedom of conscience – the law should be … protecting us from such arbitrariness.”

At last report, the pastors had not decided whether they would appeal the fine. The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray for believers in Kaliningrad and other countries in Europe where their freedom to worship freely is coming under attack. Ask God to encourage and protect them.

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