Oct 13: Russia, Northwestern Federal District

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Russia

russia

Europe

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Geography

Area: 17,075,400 sq km

The world’s largest country, extending across 9 time zones between the Baltic and the Pacific. The Russian Federation is composed of 83 administrative districts, including 46 oblasts (provinces), 21 republics, 9 territories, 4 autonomous okrugs, 1 autonomous oblast and 2 federal cities.

Population: 140,366,561    Annual Growth: -0.39%

Capital: Moscow

Urbanites: 72.8%

HDI Rank: 71 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)

Peoples

Peoples: 162 (47% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card

Official language: Russian; local languages in autonomous republics    Languages: 135 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Christian

Religion               Pop %Ann Gr
Christians93,905,22966.900.0
Evangelicals1,636,6271.22.3

Prayercast

Challenge for Prayer

Russia is a proud nation with a great legacy, but it remains a mystery and a contradiction. Some see a bleak future, others a resurgent Russia. Some regard the last decade or two as an economic disaster; others see growth and strength. For centuries, it was systematically plundered by those who held sway, from the Tsars to the Communists to the oligarchs. Most Russians still see a grim outlook. For the nostalgic older generation, the stability of life under the Communists is preferred; for the younger generation, modern life offers little real hope. Pray especially for the following long-term cultural issues:

a) Demographics reveal a civilization caught in a deadly decline. Russia’s population drops by over 500,000 each year. Such a rapid numerical decline spells certain doom for populations unable to reverse the trend. Russia’s birthrate is among the lowest in the world; even generous incentives to produce children are not effective. Conversely, Russia’s abortion rate remains one of the world’s highest. Figures indicate more abortions than live births, with an alarmingly high number also resulting in the mother’s death.

b) Health issues are spiralling to crisis level. Health care is inefficient, underfunded and costly, making it inaccessible to many – just when it is most urgently needed:

     i The alcoholism rate in Russia is one of the world’s highest. Increased incidences of disease, homicide and suicide can in large part be attributed to the low prices and wide availability of cheap, illegal and often poisonous vodka; Russia sells over 2 billion litres each year.

     ii Drug addiction controls the lives of as many as 2.5 million people. The government claimed at one point that 8% of teens used drugs daily. The increased prevalence of hard drugs has led to mafia involvement and control. Ministry to drug addicts is a fruitful area for Christians – and a necessary one.

     iii Russia has Europe’s highest and fastest-rising rate of HIV/AIDS. This, combined with tuberculosis, raises mortality rates and drastically reduces life expectancy. HIV claims mostly young people, further robbing Russia of its future.

c) Russian nationalism and its outworkings. Strong nationalistic sentiment has existed for centuries, from religious Orthodox Russia to the Soviet era to the modern day. But complex 21st Century trends seem to be leading to irrevocable troubles.

     i Racist nationalism is increasing. Nazi-style expressions are growing more popular among Russian Slavs as an expression of identity and “patriotism”. This has led to more powerful, far-right political groups, but also to thuggery against visible minorities and immigrants. Such racist attacks increased by 30% in 2008 alone, forcing the president to take measures to address this issue.

     ii Nationalism in foreign policy and Russification internally, reasserted under Putin’s leadership, often led to belligerence, particularly in Chechnya and other Caucasus regions. Pray for good relations with foreign powers and with minority republics within the Russian Federations.

d) Minority groups from within the former Soviet Union face exploitation and rejection by the very ones who colonized them through Russian imperialism and then Communism. Millions of Central Asian immigrants work in Russian cities, most of them undocumented and uncounted in census figures. The great irony is that without these workers, the Russian economy would violently contract; and without massive-scale immigration in the future, Russia may become a pale shadow of its former self.

     For an additional 11 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Russia.


Northwestern Federal District

Russia

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Challenge for Prayer

Komi in the north is a mineral-rich area, attracting Russian industry. The Finno-Ugric Komi number 26% of the population. By religion, most Komis are Orthodox; however, many became atheist as a result of the Soviet era. Komi Christian Evangelical Church ministers to the Komi people. Its original pastor laboured in secret for years to translate the Bible into Komi. The closely related Komi-Permyak, who live mainly in Perm Krai, are mostly Orthodox but with some evangelicals. Komi peoples in smaller numbers live in neighbouring districts. The Komis received the NT in 2008, and the Komi-Permyaks expect the NT in the near future.

     For an additional 3 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.

More Information

The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Northwestern Federal District.