And it is sheer xenophobia of the most blatant sort for Russia to try to outlaw having a foreigner (gasp) speak to a church or religious body without a work permit. Could such a foreigner be an imam recruiting for terrorist activities? Sure, but if that's who he is, and if you have good evidence that he's a terrorist recruiter, then don't let him into the country in the first place. You may notice that t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t i-m-a-m is not the same as B-a-p-t-i-s-t m-i-s-s-i-o-n-a-r-y, even if both happen to be foreigners.The comments section continues this kind of theme, which amounts to 'Russia should conduct itself like a proper Western country! Damn it, we have respect for the 1st Amendment over here! The fact that Russia finds it necessary to try and insulate themselves from western thoughts and culture is downright xenophobic, I tell you!'
Now, I'm Catholic. Byzantine Catholic admittedly, but I'm under the Pope, not the Patriarchs. So in principle I should find any barrier to spreading the faith a worry. What I find remarkable in this exchange here is the lack of sympathy or self-awareness in any form, which is starting to look more and more typical for WWWtW. To them, it's absolutely unthinkable - wicked, horrible, and wrong - that Russia would be highly suspicious of western influence and seem to control or even minimize it. It's totalitarianism in its worst form, they should allow for the free flow of ideas and thoughts and foreign communication in their country!
Look, I'm not saying one has to defend Russia's policy. Go ahead, criticize it - I'm sure some russians will too. But what I find weird - even comical - is that WWWtW's admins will rant and rave about the Russians going out of their way to try and insulate their culture from outside cultural influence, when normally they write article after article about the rapid deterioration of the very culture that Russia is trying to minimize the influence of.
Worse is the strong suggestion that those backwards Russians have a lot to learn about government from their Western Christian counterparts, which more and more looks like a case of a morbidly obese AIDS victim trying to give other people health lectures.
Maybe the Russians have, if nothing else, a reason to be worried, and have a reason to guard themselves against the culture that looks like it won't recognizably exist in a hundred years. Maybe we have something they're right to protect themselves from as much as they can.
Edit: The best part is that if you look at WWWtW's comments, you see a transition. They start off talking about how all these poor missionaries want to do is spread God's word - souls are at stake! And then the whole thing devolves into what kind of secular values the Russians SHOULD have and what their government SHOULD be like and it's high time those damn russkies get with the program. It's hard to imagine why they'd view foreign missionary work as basically a backdoor for entirely secular concerns, right?