From APD, June 21, 2017:      Pastor Oleg Goncharov, a staff member at the denomination’s Euro-Asia Division (ESD) office in Moscow, has been elected a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. He is the first Adventist to serve on this advisory body which provides input to the nation’s government.

The body includes 166 members of which 40 are appointed by the president of the Russian Federal, 43 are elected by other constituencies and the remaining 83 by application and vote. Goncharov was one of 27 candidates for three vacancies. The results were announced on June 6.

In his statement of candidacy, Goncharov stated that he is an Adventist pastor and also mentioned his commitment to religious freedom. He was assigned to a committee that focuses on inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations and maintaining civic peace. His term will end in 2020.

Goncharov is director of public affairs and religious liberty for the ESD. He also directs the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries in the region and trust services department.

The ESD includes Russia and other nations in eastern Europe and central Asia that were part of the former Soviet Union. There are about 150,000 Adventists in nearly 2,000 congregations among a population of 320 million.

The APD is the Adventist news service in Europe. The featured graphic is the flag of the Russian Federation.

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