Apparently Putin passes laws that are just as poorly written as ours.
From PE News:
Late on the afternoon of July 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law legislation against terrorism and extremism. An amendment in this law prohibits freedom of religion in a way that is considered the most restrictive measure in post-Soviet history.
The law, which passed the upper and lower houses of Russia’s Parliament on June 24, could go into effect as early as July 20.
Under the law, all personal evangelism on the streets and in individual homes is now restricted. Evangelizing outside registered churches will result in fines. Christians meeting in homes are not allowed to invite unbelievers.
Christians wishing to share their faith must secure government permits through registered religious organizations. Even with such permits, they are not allowed to witness anywhere besides registered churches or religious sites. Churches that rent rather than owning their facilities will be forcibly disbanded.
Besides rendering evangelism illegal, the law will also punish not reporting violations. Russian believers and missionaries will be under constant scrutiny of officials and even neighbors.
Individuals found guilty of violating the new law will be fined up to $800 USD, while organizations found in violation will be fined up to $15,500. Foreigners found in violation will be deported. All aspects of the law also apply to internet activities.
This decision will severely restrict missionary work and the ministry of local churches in Russia.
Evangelicals say that they will go underground if they have to:
If the bill passes, anyone who violates the law will be forced to pay fines up to US $780 for one person, and $15,000 for an organization. Any foreign visitors who violate the law could be deported.
Russias evangelicals are ready to go underground if they have to.
“They say, ‘If it will come to it, it’s not going to stop us from worshiping and sharing our faith,'” Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia told CT.
This is really peculiar to me because Putin fancies himself the head of Christendom but he’s severely restricting his citizens from preaching the gospel. It really doesn’t make any sense. I expect there might be some amendment to this law sometime soon. On the other hand, broad authoritarian answers to problems seem to really appeal to Putin, so maybe this will stick.