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Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Found Faith and Turned to the Bible Before His Death

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The U.S. government is imposing roughly 600 new sanctions against Russia today. The move comes as Russia's authoritarian ruler Vladimir Putin is suspected of being involved in the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. 

Navalny was President Putin's fiercest opponent, crusading against official corruption and organizing massive anti-Kremlin protests. The 47-year-old died last week in the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a combined 30-year sentence. Many believe he was murdered.  

At his sentencing in 2021, Navalny, once an avowed atheist who had made fun of organized religion, surprised the court when he said he had become a Christian. 

Sergey Rakhuba, the leader of the ministry Mission Eurasia told CBN News, "While he was at the court, I believe he pronounced or presented the most powerful sermon out of that cage he was kept in in the courtroom. And he referred to Matthew 5:6, and he said, 'Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness should be filled.' He said that he's not atheist anymore and referred to the Bible as an ancient book that the world should adopt and build upon as rules for daily living."

Navalny had returned to Russia in 2021 against the advice of many after the Russian government had tried to poison him. 

He continued to mention his faith on social media, saying he was a believer and no longer a "militant atheist." Some called his conversion a political tactic, but Rakhuba believes it was genuine.

"We started digging," Rakhuba said. "We did not know that Navalny was not an atheist anymore, and when we started digging more, we now see that he, in the process, when he had to go through all the challenges in fighting for his life, he said that he found God and that he was now communicating with some of the church leaders in the evangelical community. We understand that he was in contact with a few and 'searching for eternal values,' as he said."
Navalny said he viewed Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness..." as a command that he needed to do something to save his nation.

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About The Author


Since joining CBN News, Dale has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America. Dale also covered China's opening to capitalism in the early 1990s, as well as the Yugoslav Civil War. CBN News awarded him its Command Performance Award for his reporting from Moscow and Sarajevo. Since 9/11, Dale has reported extensively on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe. Follow Dale on Twitter @dalehurd and "like" him at