HISTORY of the RUSSIA MOSCOW MISSION
988 A.D. Christianity first comes to ancient Russia when Prince Vladimir of Kiev is baptized into the
Eastern Orthodox Church in 988AD.
1842 In 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith receives a revelation – that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be
taught to “that vast empire of Russia,” which then encompassed Russians, Belorussian, Ukrainian,
Moldavian, Caucasian, Central Asian, and Baltic peoples. In June of 1843, Orson Hyde and George
Adams are called to go to that “vast Empire of Russia” as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints; however, this doesn’t happen because of financial constraints and because of the
death of the Prophet on June 27, 1844.
1895 Before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, at least one family is baptized into The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. In June of 1895, members of the Lindelof family are baptized in the Neva
River by a Swedish missionary, who has been dispatched to Russia for that purpose.
1903 In 1903 Elder Francis M. Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offers a prayer of
dedication in the St. Petersburg Summer Gardens. He also offers a dedicatory prayer in the Aleksandr
Gardens of the Kremlin in Moscow on August 9, 1903.
1917 The Bolsheviks triumph in the Russian Revolution, ushering in communism and closing the doors
for the proclaiming of the Gospel in Russia. In 1918 the Bolsheviks ravage the home of the Lindelof’s
and confiscate their property. The parents and seven children are “sentenced to imprisonment and
hard labor.” Of the seven children, the oldest son and youngest daughter are known to have survived
outside the camps: two daughters are known to have died in exile. There is some evidence that
Brother Lindelof was still alive in 1958 in a Soviet prison camp and was still gathering with a few others
“in His name” as Mormons.
1925 Between 1925 and 1980 Andrei Anastasion translates the Book of Mormon into Russian.
1979 In April of 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball asks Church members to fast and pray that LDS
missionaries might be permitted to serve in all nations. Eight years later Elder Russell M. Nelson of the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Hans B. Ringger of the Seventy visit Russia to explore ways
to establish the LDS Church in this land. In late 1989, missionary work begins among the Eastern Bloc
countries, including Russia – the same year in which the Berlin Wall comes down.
1990 In July 1990, President Gary Browning is called to preside over the Finland Helsinki East Mission.
He soon moves missionaries to the cities of Vyborg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Leningrad (St. Petersburg),
Russia; and finally to Moscow, Russia. Anton E. Skripko from Leningrad is the first Russian to be
baptized (1990) after the breakup of the Soviet Union. In October 1990, the first full-time missionaries
(six of them) arrive in Moscow. President Browning, the “Brigham Young” of Russia, gave the following
account of a gathering of members and friends of the Church in Moscow in February of 1993, where
over 500 were in attendance: Suddenly and unexpectedly, an intimation filled my consciousness and
instantly encompassed my whole being. I no longer reviewed my talk or listened to the speakers. I had
a distinct and powerful impression that the spirit of the Prophet Joseph Smith was rejoicing with us in
this historic meeting. I believe for a moment my spine felt his spirit of youthful buoyancy, joyful
enthusiasm, and expansive vision.
As I reflected on this, I realized that 150 years had passed since the 1843 appointment of the first
missionaries to Russia and that this day of fulfillment must be an occasion for heavenly rejoicing and
grateful recognition of the efforts of so many over those fifteen decades. Late that afternoon … I had
the distinct feeling that, in one sense, my mission had
been fulfilled that day; my central purpose had come to fruition.
1991 General Authorities soon follow. In June of 1991, Elders Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, and
Hans B. Ringger visit Patriarch Aleksey II, leader of the estimated eighty million members of the
Russian Orthodox Church. Elder Nelson offers a prayer of gratitude, in the spirit or rededication, by the
Kremlin near the Water Tower, the tower closest to the Moscow River.
February 1992 The Finland Helsinki East Mission becomes the Russia St. Petersburg Mission and the
Russia Moscow Mission.
1993-1997 The Russia Moscow Mission sends missionaries to open many other cities including
Samara, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, and the country of Armenia, all of which later become
July 1, 1997 The Russia Moscow Mission splits again, creating the Russia Moscow South Mission, which consists of the southern part of the city of Moscow, Smolensk, Kaluga, Ryazan, Bryansk, Tula,
Orel, Lipetsk, Tambov, Kursk, Belgorod, and Voronezh. President Wright, the mission president for the
newly created Moscow South Mission, soon receives approval to expand into other cities.
May 13, 2001 From May 18 through 21, President Boyd K. Packer visits the Europe East Area. He met
with all the mission presidents in the Europe East Area and then on Sunday morning, Elder Packer
spoke to over 1,000 saints who had gathered from all the corners of the North and South Mission. He
was moved upon by the Spirit to talk about the egregious problem of alcoholism among the men of
Russia and how destructive it is to families. He pronounced a blessing on the saints.
November 2001 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland makes a memorable visit to the Moscow Missions. He
emphasizes that the most important challenge at the time is to strength the existing branches, not to
open new cities. Missionaries are asked to make renewed efforts to visit new members, work with
branch leaders, and to train the members to work effectively in their callings.
January 2002 Church membership in Russia is 14,427; with membership throughout the former Soviet
Union at 27, 352.
May 17, 2002 Elder L. Tom Perry and Sister Perry visit Moscow. They meet with all missionaries in the
North and South Missions within a reasonable traveling distance.
September 10, 2002 President Gordon B. Hinckley’s visit on September 10th is a great highlight in the
lives of all who came to Moscow. Members and missionaries arrived at the Cosmos Hotel in northern
Moscow about 1 ½ hours before the meeting began. Every one of the 1100 seats in the main hall were
taken. The huge corridor outside the hall is full of people who were looking for the overflow rooms,
which were to hold another 800 people. The Prophet met privately with a few government officials
shortly before the meeting and then he and his small entourage entered at about 6:55 p.m. When he
came in, he joked with those on the stand, and waved to the crowd. He then greeted the choir of
about 100 members and missionaries. The meeting included talks by the members of the Area
Presidency and President Hinckley. President Hinckley was marvelous, even though he was losing his
voice. He spoke with power, encouraging the saints to live faithfully. At one point he beckoned his
wife to join him, put his arm around her and spoke of their years together and about eternal marriage.
He turned to the mission presidents on the stand, and thanked them for their service and work with
the missionaries and saints. After the closing prayer, as the Prophet stood, everyone stood, and
spontaneously sang “God Be With You ’till We Meet Again” and waved white handkerchiefs. He pulled
out his handkerchief and waved and waved and waved as we sang. It was an incredibly warm, tender,
spiritual interaction, lasting maybe ten minutes. It took most of the people another hour to
successfully exit. Everybody wanted to greet and hug. Missionaries and members were crying in joy
October 5-6, 2002 The mission experiences a hallmark moment when the broadcast by church satellite
of General Conference is transmitted to the Saints in Moscow for the first time. This opened up the
possibility of receiving a full range of satellite transmissions. It was wonderful to listen to the Prophet,
Elder Maxwell, President Faust, and others. Conference was broadcast in Russian and English.
May 2003 In order to prepare for a stake in Moscow and create critical mass of membership in the
branches, the Area Presidency submitted and received approval for a plan to unite the two Moscow
Districts. This plan necessitated changing mission boundaries for both the Moscow and Moscow South
Missions. Belarus became part of the Russian Moscow South Mission. All of Moscow became the
responsibility of the Russia Moscow Mission.
July 2006 Further reorganization occurs with the creation of the Moscow West Mission and
discontinuance of the Moscow South Mission. The Russia Moscow Mission includes half of Moscow as
well as Nizini Novgorod and Kazakhstan.
November 2007 Moscow and Moscow West Missions are honored on November 10-13 with a visit by
Elder David Bednar and his wife. Before Elder Bednar began speaking, Sister Bednar shared a simple
message “Am I the missionary that my mother thinks I am?” Elder Bednar emphasized the importance
of action. Much time was spent in answering questions and the missionaries were encouraged to
answer each others’ questions.
January 2008 Visa laws are changed and missionaries began having to leave the country every three
months to have visas renewed.
January 2009 Missionaries start using two passports to decrease cost and travel time for visa renewal.
American missionaries with two passports are now able to do all of their visa renewal in a one- day
flight to Kyiv, Ukraine, and back.
February 2009 Boundaries change in the Moscow and Moscow West Mission. The Moscow Mission
now covers all of Moscow and the West Mission now includes Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, and
June 2009 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency and Neil A. Anderson of the Quorum of
the Twelve Apostles visit Kiev, Samara, and Moscow. They meet with both missionaries and members
of the Church in the Cosmos Hotel and describe what needs to be done to form a stake and a temple
in Russia. Missionaries in the Moscow and the Moscow West Mission both are able to be at the
meeting and shake hands with President Uchtdorf, Elder Anderson, and their wives.
June 2010 Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Ronald Rasband and their wives visit Moscow. On June 5th
they spoke to the missionaries in the Moscow and Moscow West Missions. Elder Perry stated that, like
apostles and prophets through various dispensations are called of God and given authority to preach
the gospel, and testify of Christ. Elder Rasband, speaking about the new KyivTemple, stated that
“every temple lessens the power of Satan.” On June 6th a conference was held for all members and
friends at the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow.
August 29, 2010 The Kyiv Ukraine Temple is dedicated and three of the branch buildings in Moscow
receive live broadcast of the three dedication sessions. This temple is the first temple in Eastern
Europe. At the second dedication session a choir from Moscow sang in the Celestial Room. The night
before the dedication a Cultural Event was held in Kyiv, and a large group of Young Single Adults from
Moscow participated in two different performances. This event was also broadcast live in Moscow
September 2, 2010 Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife came to Moscow and present special
priesthood and auxiliary training for District and Branch leaders.
June 5, 2011 At a special district conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson dissolved the Moscow District
and created the Moscow Russia Stake, the first stake of Zion in Russia. The new stake includes the
Arbatski, Rechnoy, Kakhovsky, Sokolniki, Moscow (International) and Zelonograd Wards and the
Perovo, University and Podolsk Branches. Yakov Boiko is sustained as president, with Vladimir
Astashov as first counselor and Victor Kremenchuk as second counselor and Vyacheslav Protopopov is
sustained as the first Russian LDS patriarch. Approximately 1000 members of the Church sustain the
new stake presidency and patriarch and join in singing “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning.”
July 1, 2012
At the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, a new Russia Moscow Mission is
formed, comprised of the existing Moscow Mission and the area of the Moscow West Mission located
in Russia. (Belarus is assigned to the Baltic States Mission). The new Russia Moscow Mission covers the
area of European Russia (west of the Ural Mountains) from the St. Petersburg and Baltic States
Missions on the west to the Yekaterinburg Mission on the east, and from the Samara and Rostov
Missions in the south to the White Sea in the north. In addition to units in the Moscow Stake, the new
mission includes the branches in Nizhni Novgorod (upper and central branches), Voronezh, Lipetsk,
Smolensk, Yaroslavl, Tver, Tula, Ryazan, and Kaluga. Creation of the mission begins a new era of
strength and stability for the Church in this populous area of Russia.
Since 2013 an Apostle has come to Russia every year. Elder Nelson came in 2013 and again in 2015.
Elder Bednar came in 2014 and Elder Ballard came in 2016.
June 11, 2015
The Russia Moscow North District was created. Alexander Pobsoblyev was called as District President.
July 19, 2015
The Russia Moscow South District was created. Dmitry S. Mikulin was called as District President.
Moscow Mission Presidents
The following brethren served as president of the Russia Moscow Mission from 1990 to 2010:
President Gary Browning served as president of the Finland Helsinki East Mission (which
included Moscow Russia) from July 1990 until February 1992 and of the newly
organized Russia Moscow Mission from February 1992 until July 1993.
President Richard Chapple served from July 1993 to July 1996.
President Donald K. Jarvis served from July 1996 to 1998.
President Michael Kelly served from July 1998 to July 2001.
President John F. Young served from July 2001 to July 2004.
President Glen W. Beus served from July 2004 to July 2007.
President Charles D. Cranney served from July 2007 to July 2010.
President Stephen J. Sorenson served in the Russia Moscow Mission from July 2010 – June 2013.
President Garry Borders served from July 2013 to July of 2016.
President Jeffery McGhie served from July 2016 to present.
Russia Moscow Mission Wards and Branches of the Moscow Russia Stake:
Wards are Rechnoy, Arbatski, Kakhovski, Moscow (International) and Sokolniki
Branches are Perovo, Podolsk and University
Moscow North District Branches:
Tver, Nizhny Novgorod--Gorkovsky, Nizhny Novgorod--Zarechny, Yaroslavl, and Ryazan
Moscow South District Branches:
Tula, Kaluga, Voronezh, Smolensk, Lipetsk