Ecumenical Organizations and Councils
WCC member churches based in Russian Federation
WCC member churches present in Russian Federation
The first state of Rus was established in the 10th century. The Russian Empire came into being in the 16th century. It played a major role in European history, until the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Communist Party under Lenin seized power and founded the Soviet Union, which rapidly developed a powerful socialist economy. Collectivization of the agriculture and repression under Stalin's dictatorship (1922-53) took millions of lives. The Soviet Union was invaded by Nazi Germany in World War II, in which it lost 20 million people. As one of the victorious nations it imposed communist rule in the countries it had liberated, forming the Soviet bloc. The division of Europe resulted in the cold war between the two super-powers, the USSR and the USA. The Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, after a period of internal reforms. In its place, the Russian Federation was established, along with 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has been building a democratic political system and a market economy. All the Christian churches and other religious groups suffered severe persecution under the atheist communist regime, but in particular the Russian Orthodox Church, as the majority church and the locus of Russian religiosity. Among the Protestant and other churches are Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Lutherans (mostly ethnic Germans and Finns), Methodists (which are part of the United Methodist Church), and several separatist Orthodox churches. An Interconfessional Committee was formed for dialogue between Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants but was not operational through 2005.