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Journey Of Faith Freedom To Believe

In today’s interconnected world, major news events send ripples into the farthest corners.

Spokane now feels ripples from Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise to power in the Soviet Union a decade ago in the form of a sudden influx of thousands of Russian-speaking religious refugees.

These refugees are evangelical Christians who fled discrimination and economic collapse in Ukraine, Siberia and other former Soviet republics.

They number at least 3,000 here, perhaps 5,000. Their numbers mount as relatives join them, and as refugees in other American cities learn of Spokane.

They are deeply religious people who followed prophecies to Spokane and quickly established seven Russian-language churches here.

Three reporters and two photographers from The SpokesmanReview spent much of the past year with Spokane’s Russian refugees, learning about their difficult flight to America, and their struggle to build new lives here.

Today, we invite readers to meet our new neighbors in part one of a two-part special report called Journey of Faith. Please turn to section H.

Look for part two in the Sunday Feb. 26 newspaper.