who have described the organization as "a paramilitary" force. Despite these tensions, Salvation Army Spokesman Major Bill Cochrane told reporters that his team will continue to feed the poor in Moscow, which is now faced with a harsh winter and freezing temperatures.

"We do not know where this will lead but we have great people working there who are prepared to carry on and will not be deterred by this," he said in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.


Analysts say the Salvation Army may banned for the second time in a century in Russia.  After failing to win an appeal over its status there, the organization, which first fed poor Russians in 1913 before being eradicated by Lenin’s secret police in 1923, was last week branded illegal in Russia’s Capital, officials said.

Following the collapse of Communism, the Salvation Army was allowed to re-register but has not been granted charity status in Moscow.

The organization has been active in the former Soviet Union since 1991, where it has been involved in several projects, including feeding street children and other homeless people.

There are an estimated 3,500 Salvation Army members in Russia and the former Soviet republics, many of whom are wearing uniforms and hold ranks. Those wearing uniforms must renounce alcohol, tobacco and drugs as well as accepting the Bible as Gods Word.


Salvation Army officers point out that Russian politicians have wrongly accused them of being a military force, as the uniforms worn by members, are designed to display their "commitment to God in the war against evil".

Moscow city officials are believed to act in against the Protestant organization in close cooperation with the influential Russian Orthodox Church.  Other foreign missionary workers have also been forced to leave the country.

There is concern among human right organizations that the United States does not want to raise sensitive issues such as religious persecution with Russia, as it is a key partner in the global war against terrorism.


Major Cochrane was quoted as saying by local news media that work with the elderly and homeless is becoming more difficult because members had been intimidated by police who he said turned up at (church) services to collect names.

"We have complied with everything that is asked of us in Moscow and why it has to be different there remains a mystery," he said.

The Salvation Army plans to take its case to the European court of Human Rights, a process that is expected to take time.


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