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Even as persecution climbs for Protestants in Russia, most of its evangelicals continue to support President Vladimir Putin, who won his fourth six-year term in last week’s election.
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Putin - Stronghold - State - Choice
Given Putin’s stronghold in the former Soviet state, they don’t really have another choice.
The incumbent Russian president drew in 75 percent of the vote Sunday, up from 64 percent in 2012. With a popular leading critic, Alexei Navalny, forced out of the race, Putin soundly beat out Pavel Grudinin, a millionaire entrepreneur from the Communist Party; Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an ultranationalist with a military background; and Ksenia Sobchak, a former TV host.
Protestant - Voters - Percent - Orthodox - Nation
For Protestant voters, who make up only about 1 percent of the heavily Orthodox nation, “their support for Putin would be only a bit below the national average,” according to William Yoder, spokesman for the Russia Evangelical Alliance. “They would not vote for a communist, or a nationalist like Zhirinovsky, and not for a movie-starlet like Sobchak.”
Like their Orthodox neighbors, Russian evangelicals prioritize family values such as traditional marriage, said Yoder. But leaders do not often speak out to address politics—especially not from the pulpit.
Pastor - Alexei - Smirnov - Chairman - Russian
Pastor Alexei Smirnov, chairman of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, did post a statement this week to congratulate Putin on his victory.
“In accordance with the Word of God, the Bible, the churches of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists will support you in prayers. As before, our brothers and sisters will make every effort to build not only the Kingdom of Heaven, but also the earthly Fatherland, Russia,” an English translation read.
Health - Blessing - Wisdom - Lord - Service
“I wish you strong health, blessing, and special wisdom from the Lord in high and responsible service as President of Russia.”
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