Christian Foreign Policy Experts Warn Putin Can’t Be Trusted as Russia’s Persecution of Christians Intensifies

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some Christian foreign policy experts are warning that despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated mutual interest in combating radical Islamic extremism, he cannot be regarded as a defender of Christians amid his country’s crackdown on non-Russian Orthodox denominations.

George Barros, a former congressional staffer for former congressman Steve Stockman of Texas, who sat on the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, underscored Russia’s persecution of religious groups that don’t recognize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church, which dominates religious life and is strongly allied with President Vladimir Putin, in Providence foreign policy journal on May 12.

Amid polls showing Putin’s favorability numbers and rising support for Russia among Americans, Barros said, “[p]erceptions that Russia is a defender of Christendom in an increasingly secular world are not based in reality.”

“Any discussion concerning the relationship between Christianity and Russia cannot fail to take into consideration the Russian Orthodox Church, which dominates practically all aspects of Christianity in Russia,” Barros said, asserting that Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, is believed to be a former KGB agent.

Mark Tooley, president of the Washington-based Institute on Religion & Democracy, told The Christian Post in an interview this week that from a strategic perspective, the United States collaborates on some issues with unsavory governments.

Yet, “it would be unwise for Americans, Christian or otherwise, to be enthusiastic about Putin who has basically subverted Russia’s nascent democracy and has established himself as a strongman and certainly should not be a political model for American Christians,” Tooley said.

American Missionary Baptist Pastor Donald Ossewaarde, who has been a missionary to Ukraine and Russia since the late 1990s, according to his website, told the Baptist Press in late April that he anticipates the repression of religion in Russia “to continue to get worse” and doesn’t “see any sign of the Russian government having a change of heart.”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Brandon Showalter