WASHINGTON, September 24 (RIA Novosti)– The ordeal of two American Mormon missionaries who were kidnapped in Russia in 1998 and held for a $300,000 ransom has been dramatized in a new movie, “The Saratov Approach” according to a US television station.
Missionaries Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst’s efforts at evangelizing the southern Russian city of Saratov ended abruptly when both men were jumped by men with baseball bats after arriving at an apartment where they had hoped to discuss their faith, Tuttle told Phoenix television station Fox 10 news Monday.
"Within seconds they had us face down in the kitchen with guns to our heads. And you know, it was downhill from there," Tuttle said.
For five days the two missionaries were handcuffed and held captive in a small room. When no ransom materialized, the men were driven to a field and released.
Undaunted, Tuttle and Propst went to England to complete their mission, while their Russian kidnappers were arrested. One kidnapper received 2 years’ probation, the other was sentenced to 4 years in prison, according to Fox 10 news.
Mormons are generally expected to serve between 18 months to 2 years doing missionary work, usually between the ages of 19 to 21, according to Mormon.org.
The first Mormon missionaries arrived in Russia in the 19th century, but Mormonism was not officially recognized there until 1991. Today there are 21,709 Mormons in Russia according to mormonnewsroom.org.
“The Saratov Approach” will be released Oct. 9, according to the movie’s Facebook page.
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The British experience can be instructive for Russia. London retains its British Commonwealth if it wants to use this as a foundation for integration in the future. That’s a valuable lesson for Russian experts who are calling for an end to “ineffective” associations like the CIS, the Russian World and others.