Forty years ago no one would have been surprised to see Russia on the list of the top 50 places where it is hardest to be a Christian. With the death of Stalin life became easier for believers. The end of communism meant the end of repression. Today that is starting to change. Across the country, the government is imposing restrictions on denominations other than the Russian Orthodox Church. They are increasingly viewed as Western spies.
That is worrying but would not be enough on its own to get Russia on to No 42 on the list. Persecution is highest in the Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, where most indigenous people are Muslims. Many believers from Muslim backgrounds have fled the Caucasus region for their personal safety. Those who have stayed often keep their faith secret.