World Watch List Rank 46
World Watch List Score 60/100
Leader President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Population 143.9 million I 118 million
Main Religion Christianity
Government Federal Republic
WWL Rank in 2019 41
Persecution Level High Persecution

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.

Our Work

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.


  • Pray for guidance for Russia’s Christians so they may understand and comply with domestic laws while they reach out with the Gospel to their friends and neighbours.
  • Christian activity can often come under state surveillance. Church services are sometimes raided by the security forces. Pray for the safety of church members when they are arrested and interrogated by the police.


  • Pray for those that are suffering by reading the latest prayer requests from persecuted Christians around the world.
  • Encourage a persecuted believer by writing them a note of encouragement.
  • Donate today to strengthen a persecuted believer.