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Russia: Information on the treatment of Messianic Jews

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 April 1996
Citation / Document Symbol RUS23381.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Russia: Information on the treatment of Messianic Jews, 1 April 1996, RUS23381.E, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


In a telephone interview on 10 April 1996, the executive director of Hear O Israel Ministries in Rochester, New York, provided the following information. Hear O Israel Ministries is an organization working in the countries of the former Soviet Union that aids in the establishment of Messianic Jewish congregations.

The executive director stated that Messianic Jews in Russia face hostility from several quarters and are in "some danger." Messianic Jews in Russia encounter the same anti-Semitism that do other Russian Jews. The main difficulty facing Messianic Jews in Russia is the anti-Semitism that is manifested by neo-nazi, ultranationalist and communist groups. These groups dislike Jews and tend to hold them responsible for societal woes. These groups do not treat Messianic Jews any differently than they treat Orthodox, humanist or atheist Jews. There have been recent physical attacks upon Messianic Jews in Russia, although the reasons were most likely because the victims were Jewish, not because they were specifically Messianic Jews. There have been reports, which are difficult to confirm, that some Jews have been killed in Russia within the last several years strictly because they were Jewish.

Messianic Jews in Russia also encounter difficulties from the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Jews. The Russian Orthodox Church regards Messianic Jews as an alien Protestant group, and is pressuring the government to remove from Russia the foreign Messianic Jewish groups, such as Jews for Jesus, that operate there. Orthodox Jews also dislike Messianic Jews and may regard them as apostates and threatening to the Jewish community; consequently, Orthodox Jews have attempted to restrict the activities, in a non-violent manner, of Messianic Jews.

The Russian government regards the Messianic Jews as Jews, not Protestants, and does not look favourably upon the Messianic Jews, although it does not interfere with their religious practices or activities. The general public is rather indifferent to Messianic Jews and is not a concern for the Messianic Jews.

For further information on the treatment of members of Jews for Jesus in Russia, please consult the attachments.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Hear O Israel Ministries, Rochester, NY. 10 April 1996. Telephone interview with executive director.


The Moscow Times. 6 October 1994. Frank Brown. "Being Here: Preaching Jesus to Russia's Jews." (NEXIS)

Reuters. 13 March 1996. BC Cycle. "Russian Court Jails Members of Neo-Nazi Group." (NEXIS)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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