Geographically the largest country on earth, and spanning two continents, Russia is marked by a rugged terrain that has been both a blessing and curse to economic and cultural development. Dozens of ethnic groups with their own dialects, traditions, and perspectives have added a unique sense of diversity, but they also prevent a feeling of national cohesion. The sparse landscape has prevented both Napoleon and Alexander the Great from completely subduing the country, yet it also hinders current growth into new sectors of business. With the memories of Communist rule still fresh and the scars of oppression still healing, Russians continue to search for a future amidst the lingering shadows of the Soviet Union.
For the past fifty years, Russia has failed to show evidence of fighting the trafficking of men, women, and children for forced labor, prostitution, and begging. Russian women have reported being trafficked to many regions, including the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and Europe. Organized crime is estimated to control seventy percent of all Russian banks and influences every branch of industry. Law enforcement is powerless to control the corruption, and as narcotic and opiate use continues to rise, HIV/AIDS is being transferred through shared needles. Russia has the highest and fastest growing rate of HIV/AIDS cases in Europe, and reports more abortions per year than births. Russia also has Europe's lowest birth rate, with the population dropping by 500,000 people each year. All attempts at reversing the trend have thus far failed. Today, there are an estimated 800,000 orphans in Russia, with an estimated 1 million street children who are used as beggars, prostitutes, and drug runners.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, attendance has doubled in the Church of Russia, one of the most severely and continuously persecuted churches in recent history. Census results show the number of those who identify themselves as atheists or non-religious have been cut in half since 1991. The former Communist regime destroyed numerous churches and martyred over 200,000 Christian leaders between 1920 and 1990. Many local churches are still in the process of rebuilding. There is a need for educated Christian leaders to instill hope and provide encouragement to a nation ravaged by depression, suffering, and anguish. In this bleakness, God's light shall shine brightest.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?