Introduction / History
Russia is the largest nation in the world by land area. Ethnic Russians make up about four-fifths of the population. The Russian Empire (1721-1917) under the Romanov Dynasty played a major role in world history. The Russian Socialist Republic was the dominant power in the Soviet Union (1922-1991). With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has seen its military power and economic strength diminished.
Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February of 2022. At the time of this writing, it is unknown how the military conflict will end. The invasion has brought economic sanctions against Russia from many countries in Europe, the USA, the British Commonwealth and Japan. Since 1991, many Russians have left Russia looking for better economic opportunities and political freedoms.
What are their lives like?
Russians tend to be reserved in public but more friendly in private. Births among Russians are low, and the abortion rate is high. The Russian population will decrease over the next few decades according to current statistics. Many couples have no children or one child.
The Russians love tea and vodka. Alcoholism is a huge problem for Russians just about everywhere they live.
Many educated young people are choosing to leave Russia for countries like Poland. They are mainly Russian Orthodox, unlike the Poles who are usually Roman Catholic. Poland is reluctant to take in Russian refugees, even those who have taken an anti-war stance in Russia.
What are their beliefs?
Over half of the Russian people claim to be Christian. Over one third of Russians say they have no religion or do not believe in a supernatural being.
Russian orthodox believers have much in common with evangelicals. Both believe in the Trinity, the deity and resurrection of Christ and the inspiration of the Bible. Unlike Roman Catholic priests, Russian Orthodox priests can marry and have a family. The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is considered the first among equals among the bishops and does not have the power or prestige of the Roman Catholic Pope. Icons or special painted pictures of Jesus, Mary and the saints play a prominent part in worship in Russian Orthodox Churches.
What are their needs?
Christianity is much more than a national religious identity or system of morality. Russians need to experience a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Russians will need to see real faith demonstrated in the lives of Jesus’ followers no matter where they live.
Pray that the Russians will realize that they need to do more than go to the church and will give their lives completely to Jesus Christ.
Pray for a spiritual revival in the lives of Russian Orthodox priests and bishops leading them to teach Christ, not traditions.
Pray that Russians will read and understand their Bibles.
Pray for disciple making movements to begin among Russians all over the world.
Text source: Joshua Project