By looking at 4 areas of struggle and comparing them with the UK, we'll try to explain why we support the projects we do.
The average monthly salary is around £560 in Russia. In the UK it's £2,674 (dependent on location) You might think these lower salaries mean life is cheaper in Russia - not so. While property can be, everyday items like food, clothes and toiletries are not significantly less, so an average Russian salary struggles to cover even the basics.
You are almost 6 times more likely to be homeless in Russia than here in the UK. Like anywhere, most cases of homelessness are due to poverty or family breakdowns. The statistics are worse possibly because the Russian welfare system is lacking or because charities haven’t yet filled the gaps... whatever the reason, it’s not a great picture.
Drugs and alcohol are far more prevalent than they are in the UK.
1 in every 17 Russians has an alcohol or drug use disorder compared with 1 in every 34 people in the UK. So, if a Russian doesn't struggle with an addiction themselves, it is very likely a close friend or family member does and the indirect impact of addiction can be almost as destructive.
In January 2017, first time domestic violence was decriminalised in Russia. A first offence without severe injury is seen as administrative rather than criminal. The maximum penalty of two years imprisonment decreased to just fifteen days in police custody and a fine could be taken from a victim and perpetrator’s joint bank account! As the criminal justice system doesn’t tackle domestic violence appropriately, support from places like the crisis centre is needed to help deal with the problem.
In contrast, the UK government in 2015, made it an offence to act in a controlling or coercive manner in an intimate or family relationship. This law is pioneering as it actually criminalises emotional abuse. Physical abuse had become an offence decades earlier in the UK demonstrating that our criminal justice system will not stand for this type of behaviour.
At the mums' groups, the crisis centres and among orphanage leavers, we really see these statistics come to life. So many of those we support have come from poverty, homelessness, are escaping domestic violence or are recovering from an addiction. A large population of orphanage leavers face problems adjusting into early adulthood due to the lack of life skills teaching and being survivors of trauma. Love Russia aims to support those marginalised by circumstances that keep them stuck at rock bottom.
Another huge challenge for many of those we work with is that they haven’t been brought up knowing they have hope in God. The mentors Love Russia chooses to partner with are committed to sharing the good news of a loving Father with those who've experienced lives of abandonment and hardship while addressing other basic human needs like shelter, food, clothing and education.
Watch this video to see how you can be involved and support our mentors or follow the link button below to see our campaign page where you can sign up to be an Angel today!
Go to Guardians & Angels Campaign >