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Where the Devil Flourishes: The Persecution of Christians in Ukraine and Russia

(Editors Note: The complexities of the Ukraine/Russia war can not be overstated. Just yesterday RFK Jr. went on Tucker Carlson, campaigning. Remember, he is campaigning! So much of what he said in that interview pertaining to Ukraine can be easily refuted. Obviously, NONE OF US want this war. Notice that RFK Jr. did not give one explanation of how he would end the war? What? He wants the world to casually forget about these millions of Ukrainians and allow Russia to run roughshod over the whole of their population? Or perhaps he is saying, “Ukraine, just give the Russians whatever they want!?” Well, what do we learn from history? When you give a bully “whatever” they want??


Personally, my views on the war are very openly that Europe needs to engage, times 10. The American people should not be footing this bill. Perhaps we can help some. But the pressure needs to be put on Europe! On the other hand, our own politicians, President Bill Clinton, signed an agreement with Ukraine when he convinced them to denuclearize (ALL of their Nukes) that we would come to their aide if ever their sovereignty was violated. The complexities surrounding this war (and do not kid yourselves, this is a full-scale war) must not be made trivial and over-simplified to: this war is bad so we need to pull out all our involvement immediately.


Politicians are using this conflict to campaign off of. And this works to get elected but this does not always work when dealing with a complex and dynamic problem, we also need to consider the morale of the nation. I, obviously, do not trust this regime who stole the White House, not one iota. And, President Putin had choices to make. He chose to invade. He had other choices. If NATO broke their agreements with Russia (as RFK Jr. insists), just sitting here in front of my computer, I can think of dozens of other solutions Putin could have chosen other than war – which is the devastation of millions of families in many nations, including his own! And RFK conveniently fails to mention that ALL THESE NATIONS wanted away from Russia! Think about that. Why aren’t all these nations running into an alliance with Russia? Are they running away because Russia is so good and altruistic?? But RFK doesn’t mention the bigger picture because he is campaigning and he knows what voters want to hear.


I can not believe the tonedeaf’ness of our politicians on the subject. Russia is destroying innocent lives. PERIOD. And MANY of those innocent lives are within their own population. Please read what our dear brother Tony Nastas has written to us on the subject. He is speaking the truth without so much spin, propaganda and politicking. What are the simple facts? Russia invaded a sovereign nation. They regularly target civilian infrastructure, city centers and places they know that the Ukraine military is not. Wagner (their mercenary force) is at the Polish border amassing a force how large? Obviously, I would trust President Trump before ANY of these men campaigning on ending this war. We must end this war – and that is in Russia’s power to do. What if Russia does not choose to end the war? Very extremely delicate situation. Certain Russia has grievances with NATO. Russia has grievances with the west, they candidly show our radical progressive agenda all over their TV to show their very conservative population how the West is about to ruin the world! Very delicate situation indeed. Lots of prayer required. I hope these article’s by Nastas provoke us all to prayer!! Prayer is going to end this war faster than any other solution we can consider! – Robert Anthony, Senior Editor.)

 

By Tony Nastas, reporting from Ukraine Aug 15th 2023


The respected Christian American society seems to be well informed about what’s going on in Ukraine. My wonderful brothers and sisters from Texas, Florida, California, Georgia, Washington state and Oregon started calling and messaging me at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, saying: “What’s going on in Ukraine? We heard that Z is persecuting Christians in Ukraine!”


First, I couldn’t understand what or who that “Z” was… Here in Ukraine it’s a HATRED symbol that the Russian army uses on their tanks, warships, planes and trucks.



Ok, finally I found out that “Z” stands for Zelensky. Ok, there is some sense to that as there is nothing wrong with the letter itself. But there is a HUGE problem with what “Z” means for Russians and what it means for the Ukrainians…


Nevertheless, everybody was concerned about persecution in Ukraine… Which actually ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union broke apart. I remember that very well as I was12 at the time. Now I am 44 and in all past 32 years of Ukrainian independence I have never witnessed or experienced any Christian persecution. Even during Covid years, all the churches in Ukraine were able to have services and meetings!


Now, when a full-scale war is going on in Ukraine, all of a sudden “Z” started persecuting Christians! What nonsense! I will not get into the details why it happened, as I covered this topic in one of my previous articles here at AR Press - https://www.americanrevivalpress.org/post/the-real-persecution-in-ukraine-democracy-under-attack


But what I can see is that my dear brothers and sisters read that kind of news from local sources that take their information from Russian news databases. That saddens me, as I see exactly word for word Russian propaganda that I read everyday in the Russian Telegram channels and official sources like Russia Today, Russia 1, NTV, etc. Exactly the same words but translated into English. Being misled by these information sources, honest American Christians do not understand who is their real enemy. And it never changed!


Our enemy, no doubt, is the devil. “The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10)


Where does the devil flourish? I’ll answer for you, In the places where he is cherished!


All these 32 years (after the USSR) were a big struggle for Russia. Their leaders as well as ordinary people couldn’t choose which way to go. They had their first “democratic” president Boris Yeltsin. But not for very long. He was drunk most of the time, weak and unhealthy. Finally, in 1999, he decided to choose the head of FSB (former KGB) as his successor. Yes, it was Putin. What a great choice for the Russian people! The head of the most corrupt organization, the one that persecuted Christians, imprisoned them, searched their apartments for Christian literature and Bibles and didn’t let Christian to have their services: neither in buildings nor in fields or forests! (I remember it very well, as my family was Baptist all that time and involved in underground printing of the Bible during the USSR. But that is another story.)


After some thaw that Yeltsin provided for a couple of years, the Putin’s government started turning back to the old, well-remembered Soviet times. Not much changed from 1991 to 1999. These little eight years did not make Christians of Russia stronger… They turned back to being oppressed just like it had always been.


Only one church was cherished, well financed, fast-growing and promoted. Do you know which one? - Of course, the Russian Orthodox church!


Do you know why? Take a guess.



Officially, according to the Russian constitution, the state and church are separate entities and can not influence each other. But who cares about that constitution?!!! Less Putin. He understood that he couldn't defeat the church, so he decided to lead it (Like many politicians and world leaders before him, throughout history)! With the help of his KGB colleague Kirill (Patriarch Kirill Exposed as KGB Agent) they decided to take everything under control.


The new department of religion in the KGB structure became a great success! Everything that Putin says is being well executed in all the Russian Orthodox churches - in Russia, Ukraine (yes! The Russian Orthodox church is still very active within my country), in Turkey, Israel, European countries and even in The United States! It is estimated that up to 80% of their “priests” are actually well-trained KGB/Russian government agents. Just have a deeper look into their activity… That exactly describes Russian society… About 80% of them support Putin, his bloody war and his ambitions. Do you know that in different years from 66% to 79% of the Russian population consider themselves to be Russian Orthodox? Here are the proofs of official surveys from Wikipedia in Russian - https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Религия_в_России


What about the remaining 20%? Here is an article that tells us about those scarce hearts who haven’t been weakened by the consequences for telling the truth. It looks like the real Christian persecution started in the Russian Orthodox church itself! - https://apnews.com/article/russia-orthodox-church-defrocked-priests-ukraine-war-21660b57105a95a04e6321fb8baffa9e


So, about 80% of Russians support Putin, about 80% of Russians refer to themselves as Russian Orthodox. Please, remember, this is the same population, not a different one! How much do you think the first 80% of Putin’s supporters intersect with the religious Orthodox Christian 80%? One doesn’t need to know much math to figure that one out…


So, it wasn’t surprising for me to watch this video recently shown on an OFFICIAL RUSSIAN TV called NTV channel (the green logo in the left bottom corner of the video).



It showed under Breaking News/Criminal Chronics/American Cult name and category.


If you would like to watch it and have some understanding of what they are saying, you can press CC on the video and in the settings choose live translation into English.


The video tells us about the police searches that were conducted in the homes of “representatives of radical religious organizations that exerted tremendous influence, formed and imposed on their listeners the ideas as the West needed.” Do you remember the “Z” word I told you about at the top of this article? “Zapad” means “West” - the direction in which Putin’s Russia wants to impose its will, understanding and the way of life they think is the only correct one. They started with Ukraine.


Let’s keep listening to what they are saying: “Searches were carried out in the apartment of the mouthpiece of Russophobic propaganda Yuri Sipko‘. Yuri Sipko is the former Bishop of the Baptist Union in Russia. Having the Bible as his only authority he wasn’t afraid to tell the truth and how God looks at the current Russian leaders and the butchery which Russia began in its neighboring and closely-related country.


During the arrest of Bishop Albert Ratkin and a search of the apartment of Yuri Sipko, the Investigative Committee showed a portrait of Hitler on the desktop during the search deliberately focusing viewer’s attention to these images. This was done with a completely understandable message: hey, look what a Nazi nest is here! But the image is blurred, and for a good reason! In fact, these are just anti-Nazi materials: the DVD edition of the famous BBC documentary series “Secrets of the Reich. Secrets of Nazism”.


A book of similar content, which can be seen in later part of this video which was filmed in Albert Ratkin's office after the search. This is Erwin Lutzer's Hitler's Cross, which explores the lessons to be learned from the history of the Third Reich church, in particular when the church serves not God but a misanthropic ideology.


I understand the interest of pastors in this kind of phenomena, because it is so similar to what is happening now in Russia.


I intentionally do not want to analyze every sentence of the video, because I would like you to watch it personally, with English translation, to see what words they use and what is the real attitude to our brothers and sisters in Russia that do not keep silent and yet seem to spin to the world.


My dear beloved American Christians! Our enemy hasn’t changed! Communist, anti-Christ ideology hasn’t disappeared as the Soviet Union still lives in the minds of Putin and 80% of Russia. If you don’t remember Cold war times, then ask your fathers and grandfathers. The threat is still there.


Where does the devil flourish? Exactly in the places where he is cherished! Russia is a place where the devil keeps being cherished by their leaders and supported by the majority of the Russian population because they are willing to murder innocent lives to force their political agenda on the world.


Most of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Russia are silent. They are scared to speak up. They are scared by Putin's regime because they know they will be arrested even if they show an empty sheet of paper with no words on it, because silently it means - NO WAR! I know this very personally as I have Christian friends in Russia, obviously who do not agree with the war.


They are scared to preach Jesus because they are marked as an American cult that is being funded by the US to impose American values. If you watch the video, you will see how they manipulate the narrative, mix everything in one bowl just to show the West as evil.


I remember I grew up in a society like that… I was just a kid, but I hated the West and was proud I was born in the Soviet Union, because it was the most powerful, the largest and the happiest country in the world. But when “perestroika” started in 1986, and the iron curtain fell down, my family received a small parcel from an American family (The McKenzies from Oklahoma-City, if I remember it right) with their colorful picture (which was very rare in the Soviet Union at that time) and a nice soft baseball ball. I started exchanging small letters with them. Usually it took months to get to them and back. I didn’t know a word in English, but with a little vocabulary, I started revealing a totally new world to myself - where people are not scared, where they can read and preach the Bible freely, look happy and smile at me with love.


But my hate was not my choice then. I didn’t have any other information as we lived in a huge bubble built by the Communist party. And I thank those Americans that showed their love to me and my family in those paper letters and little gifts. They didn’t know us, we never saw each other in person. The contacts were lost, but that family changed my world - it became wider, nicer and the most important - more True.


Today, there is no excuse for me or anybody else that we are blocked from the truth. Everybody chooses his own truth. It looks like the majority of Russians made their choice to go back to the USSR, back to persecution, back to their own bubble and live their days in great hatred and fear. They chose to despise Americans again, persecute Christians in Russia and perhaps take the side of the future anti-Christ that is definitely on his way.


I believe it will be Ukrainian Christians who will be in the forefront of delivering the Bible-truth to Russia after the war, just as it was before the war. Since, after all we speak the same language. My mother church sent twenty full families that keep working in this hostile country today. We were able to do that only with our American brothers and sisters behind us. Ukraine and the United States sent hundreds of missionaries to Russia in Soviet times, and probably it will again become our new old mission field.


Pray for Christians in Russia, continue to fight with the evil information that is modern mass propaganda-media and let’s keep sticking to the Bible truth, remembering our real citizenship. Amen?

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