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Russia

Mammoth statue of Jesus planned for Russian site once set aside for Lenin

By Marc Bennetts — March 13, 2019
MOSCOW (RNS) — The statue, which has not yet been approved by the Russian Orthodox Church, is to be 125 feet high – the same height as the Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro.

Six-year prison sentence for Jehovah’s Witness in Russia sparks outcry

By Marc Bennetts — February 8, 2019
MOSCOW (RNS) — Dennis Christensen, a 46-year-old carpenter who has lived in Russia for more than two decades, was sentenced on Wednesday.

Putin disavows crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses, giving hope to detained

By Marc Bennetts — January 9, 2019
MOSCOW (RNS) — After the arrests of dozens of members of the group, the Russian president's comments seem to challenge a 2017 ruling by the country's Supreme Court marking the church as a terrorist organization.

Eastern Orthodoxy risks split over independence for Ukraine’s church

By Tom Heneghan — October 31, 2018
(RNS) — The political significance of the decision was immediately clear. 'The (Russian) empire is losing one of the last levers of influence on its former colony,' Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

Russian Orthodox Church issues warning to Orthodoxy’s leader

By Vladimir Isachenov — September 28, 2018
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Orthodox Church warned Friday that it would sever ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community if he grants autonomy to Ukraine's Orthodox Church.

Why Putin is an ally for American evangelicals

By Melani McAlister — September 4, 2018
(The Conversation) — In the 21st century, evangelical conservatives aren’t promoting their agenda by smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, but by harnessing Putin’s reputation as a leader in the resurgent global Right.

Anti-Putin punk group Pussy Riot headlines UK Christian music festival

By Rosie Dawson — August 29, 2018
LONDON (RNS) — At Greenbelt, Britain's foremost Christian rock gathering, the Russian punk band's leader, Maria Alyokhina, claimed the band should be understood as a 'Christian gesture.'

Nothing sacred: Russian spies tried hacking Orthodox clergy

By Raphael Satter — August 27, 2018
LONDON (AP) — The Russian hackers indicted by the U.S. special prosecutor last month have spent years trying to steal the private correspondence of some of the world's most senior Orthodox Christian figures, The Associated Press has found.

When Franklin Graham met Putin

By Jack Jenkins — August 7, 2018
(RNS) — For years, American evangelicals have cultivated ties with Russia, highlighted by a 2015 meeting between Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, and Putin in Russia.

Pompeo says Putin summit helps with religious freedom push

By Emily McFarlan Miller — July 19, 2018
(RNS) — The secretary of state said his department is 'concerned anytime any country attempts to interfere with religious freedom of any individual anyplace and anywhere.'

Mariia Butina and the National Prayer Breakfast

By Jack Jenkins — July 18, 2018
WASHINGTON (RNS) — A new Department of Justice affidavit alleges that a Russian national tried to exploit the National Prayer Breakfast as a back channel to American politicians. Evidence suggests Russian connections to the religious event run deep.

Ukrainian Orthodox switch allegiance from Moscow to Kiev-linked churches

By Jerome Socolovsky — April 4, 2018
KIEV, Ukraine (RNS) — The church's ties with Moscow, which date back to the 17th century when Ukraine became part of the Russian Empire, started to cause problems in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

Evangelicals haven’t always cozied up to Russia

By Jonathan Merritt — March 21, 2018
(RNS) — A generation ago, evangelical luminaries denounced the Soviet Union and Russian leadership in the strongest possible terms.

Trump at prayer breakfast says US ‘strengthened by the power of prayer’

By Adelle M. Banks — February 8, 2018
WASHINGTON (RNS) — Trump also praised first responders, tireless teachers and hard-working parents in a shift from his speech to the annual event last year, in which he boasted of his reality show ratings and vowed to 'totally destroy' the Johnson Amendment.

Russian Orthodox bishop assails Putin, won’t vote for him

By RNS staff — January 22, 2018
MOSCOW (AP) — The independent Novaya Gazeta noted Monday that Yevtikhiy's comment marked the first time a top member of the Orthodox clergy had spoken out against Putin.
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