By Alexei Salapatov
Published August 1, 1996
How will the re-election of Boris Yeltsin affect the future of Russia?
FIVE YEARS AGO, RUSSIANS SAID “YES” TO BORIS YELTSIN: the first democratically elected leader in Russian history – and hoped for much needed changes in society. In July of 1996, they did the same – but this time to make sure there won’t be any new changes in their lives.
The choice has been made, but will Yeltsin’s promises be remembered? Counting all pluses and minuses of the choice that was made, I may surely say that Russia became mature enough for a conscious step in the right direction and secured its integrity. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about authorities which remember promises and care about the electorate only before an election.
This time at least, the radical communist and nationalist innovators received a “no” answer from the people. Russia didn’t want to turn the wheel of history backwards or stay at the point where it is now. Although the return of communists to power has become a usual event in many post-Soviet countries (for instance, they have never lost power in Ukraine), Russia has broken this chain of precedent of “escape from freedom.”
It’s significant that despite the number of predictions of our “comrades” concerning possible riots after the election, this was only a figment of their imagination. The only exception was the attack on the capital city of Chechnya, Grozny, by Chechen rebels (athough they have no ties to the Communist Party).
Another significant fact is the absence of bloodshed which has become all too traditional on the occassion of Russia’s historic milestones. Step by step, as the country is becoming aware of the cost of liberty, the deeper it realizes what freedom is worth, and the less the desire remains to trade democratic progress for a communist paradise of cheap sausage.
On the other hand, there is a visible political division in the society. Every fourth Russian voted against Yeltsin and his reforms. Yet it would be naive to think that all 30 million citizens of the Russian Federation who gave their votes to the communist leader are devoted communists. Obviously, there are people among them who voted against Yeltsin personally or his policies, or are just tired of living in hardship. At the same time, we have a president who claims to be the “president of all Russians no matter what political views they have.” Let’s hope this sentiment was not just election rhetoric, but will become the real criteria for his administration.
On the Economy
The ephoria of victory will be alive in the Kremlin for some time, but sooner or later economic reality will sober the president and his administration with everyday crises. Months of pre-election campaigns and a state of waiting adversely affected the economy. According to estimates of both democrats and communists, Russia will meet with economic troubles this fall, such as an impending crash of the GKO market (state insurance that helps to maintain the federal budget; the government guarantees up to 127% of profit on GKO shares) and a resulting crisis of failed banks.
Also, there is not much success in both internal and foreign policy. The war in Chechnya still takes away people’s lives just as it did a year ago. Crime isn’t bridled yet at home, but is growing rapidly. However, the appearance in the Kremlin of so bright and energetic a person as Alexander Lebed is an opportunity for the president, his administration and all of Russia. It’s a chance for stabilization, order and a chance to gain the people’s trust. Let’s hope Mr. Lebed will be able to realize his peacemaker’s intentions without becoming entangled in the Kremlin’s intrigues.
On Freedom of Religion
What does Yeltsin’s victory mean for evangelical Christians? Special attention should be paid to the promises made during the election campaign. A lot was said about helping the largest religious denomination (the Russian Orthodox Church) at the first meeting of the Presidental Council for Cooperation with Religious Confessions in August of 1995. Promised government aid implies tax privileges, financing for restoration and building of Orthodox temples, and “legal help” which means opening foreign religious offices whose main goal is to protect the traditional religious denomination from foreign missionaries.
Sadly, there is a chance that a notorious bill restricting religious freedom of “sects” passed by parliament in 1993 will be reanimated. (This bill is favored by Lebed, but Yeltsin vetoed it two years ago.) If passed into law, this will not prevent the underground activities of cults such as the White Brethren (a doomsday cult which predicted the end of the world three years ago), but might more adversely affect Protestant churches which prefer to meet openly. Yet it is the desire of some leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church to prevail over the souls of the Russian populace as they did during the times of the Czars. Such an attempt would likely bring the diametrical opposite of the desired effect. As we saw in the past, persecuting the smaller evangelical groups may work instead to unite and strengthen the churches.
My prayer for the Russian president is that he would take heed of all the errors of his past rule and correct his policies as does a wise statesman. Character and honesty are admirable human qualities no matter if you’re a worker or a president of a nation. My hope is that Mr. Yeltsin will never repeat his past mistakes and will provide a successful policy for the benefit of Russia – and that Russia will become a great country in the world again.
But I believe this success and economic prosperity can come only after revival and spiritual awakening. Whether we acheive this or not, we must remember that the threat of mass imprisonments and repression is gone. The rest we will overcome with God’s help. We have seen worse times.
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
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Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
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