|World Watch List Rank||World Watch List Score|
|President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin||143.9 million | 118.1 million Christians|
|WWL Rank in 2018||Persecution Level|
Islamic extremist groups in the Caucasus region (Southern Russia, near Central Asia) and the republics of Dagestan and Chechnya have increased their violent activity. Historically, it is an Islamic region and today is still very conservative in its beliefs. Islamic extremist groups have attacked churches killing parishioners and leaders.
In 2018, Islamic extremists killed at least six Christians in attacks on churches. Christians who have converted from Islam face a high level of persecution from their communities and family members.
Russians are proud of their heritage and achievements. Around 78% of the population belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church which is held in high esteem. Anyone outside of this, even other Christians, are viewed with some level of suspicion. This has created tension with other denominations of Christianity, particularly Protestants.
“Don’t be afraid to be put into prison because of your faith. It will be used to strengthen you. We see that wherever there is persecution and pressure, God’s name is more glorified than in areas with religious freedom.” – Nicolai from Russia.
Nicolai was persecuted for his faith in Jesus decades ago, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union. After years of relative religious freedom. Russia has once again appeared on the World Watch List.
Open Doors provides emergency relief to Christians in Central Asia who are imprisoned for their faith, have lost their jobs or have been rejected from their family and community.