Russian Taxes: A Bleg

Readers know that I’m interested in basically anything that has to do with the church and taxation. And the other day, I was looking at the Church History Library catalog and came across some fascinating snippets about Russian taxes on U.S. missions.

One comes from the Russia Samara Mission, between 1998 and 2001. The catalog summary includes this: “mission’s troubles with Russian tax authorities and KGB regarding financial matters; attempt to register Church in Kazan (15 August 1998.”

The second entry is for journals of a CES missionary in the Russia Rostov na Donu Mission. It includes this entry: “information about Russian tax system and hardship it caused missionaries renting apartments in Russia (22 October 2002).”

Both sources are closed to research. Understandably—they’re recent and they include discussions of living people. (As an example: many Supreme Court Justices donate their papers to various institutions, but those papers often remain closed until some future date set by the Justices.)

Still, I’d love to know what the tax issues that Russian missions faced in the late-90s, early-2000s. I’ve done a little looking through newspapers (and, of course, Google), and, for some reason, the tax issues faced by Russian missions doesn’t get much (any) press. (Go figure: it’s almost like other things at the time were more interesting to the press.)

So I figured I’d see if anybody knows what it was. Were you a missionary then? Or someone who paid close attention to Russian taxation? Or maybe you know the mission president or CES missionaries? If so, I’d love to talk to you. You can leave a comment, or you can find my contact information here. Thanks!


  1. Should be easy to track down the Russian mission presidents at the time via Church News, no?

  2. Thanks, jpv. I do know the name of one of the mission presidents (it’s at the link; I just don’t want to expand his Google footprint unless he wants it expanded). But, it turns out, there’s a difference between knowing a name and having contact information, especially if you don’t know a profession or really any details other than a name. I’m not saying he’s Google-proof, but I have know idea how to reach him, or if he’s still alive.

  3. Did you know Brent Belnap? I’d suggest you reach out to him.

  4. Mark, that’s a great idea. Thanks!

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