Prior to Perestroika – the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union – the United Methodist Church did not exist in Russia. Barely 30 years ago, the first United Methodist churches were founded in Russia, many times by pastors who were new, not only to United Methodism, but also to the Christian faith. Concepts like lay leadership, personal Bible study, and tithing were virtually unheard of within the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church. Today, the West Ohio Conference partners with the Russia Volga District (southeast of Moscow) of The United Methodist Church to support children's camps, youth ministry, congregations, leadership development, seminary education, church building, and other initiatives.