Missionaries serving in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission report that the Church's second stake in Russia will be organized in St. Petersburg this September. The Church reconfigured the boundaries of the St. Petersburg Russia District at the end of 2011 to include outlying branches nearby St. Petersburg thereby helping the district qualify to become a stake. The district was organized in 1993 and there are currently nine branches. Missionaries report that Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will organize the stake; the same apostle who dedicated Russia for missionary work in 1990. The first stake in Russia was created last year in Moscow.
The organization of the St. Petersburg Russia Stake is a significant development for the growth of the Church in Russia as the Church has struggled for over two decades to retain converts, keep former branch presidents and other church leaders active upon their release from their callings, and form ward-sized congregations. For example, the Church once operated 15 branches within the city of St. Petersburg alone in the summer of 1994 used to operate two districts. Over the years the Church consolidated the two districts and combined branches until just four remain today. Many anticipated the creation of the first stake in Russia to occur in St. Petersburg in the mid-1990s, but reduced receptivity resulting in fewer convert baptisms and member activity frustrations have prevented the formation of a stake until this year. Although the Church has faced many challenges with missionary work and church growth over the years, there appears to be some improvement in ameliorating these issues to qualify for a stake to operate.
For a detailed analysis of LDS growth in Russia, please refer to the Russia country profile on cumorah.com.