A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage trousers was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon.
Five more people were injured before the gunman was shot and killed at the scene by local police.
The gunman was shot and killed, according to local reports.
The injured include two members of local security services and two civilians, also women, the Interfax news agency said. Authorities are questioning the man's wife about the shooting.
A group that calls itself the local wing of the Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility. The gunman, who was carrying a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife, was killed.
"We had finished the mass and were beginning to leave the church", Russian news organisation RBK Daily quoted a priest as saying.
Dagestan, located in Russia's North Caucasus near Chechnya and Georgia, is an ethnically diverse and largely Muslim federal republic.
It was not immediately clear what motivated the shooting.
Following two separatist wars in neighbouring Chechnya, an Islamist insurgency spread to Dagestan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin fired, three months ago, head of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov and appointed Vladimir Vasilyev.
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Large parts of Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, are still in ruins, more than six months after it was retaken by the government. Iraqi forces, aided by Iranian-backed Shiite militias and a US -led coalition, recaptured the city in July 2017.
Images which have emerged on Russian media show what appears to be debris from the plane in the snow. Russian Federation has seen record high snowfalls in recent days and visibility was reportedly poor.
The agency warns that driving conditions could be hazardous and the weather conditions could contribute to transportation delays. Snow will mix with ice pellets and accumulate 2 to 5 centimetres Sunday morning before changing to freezing rain.
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NI Weather: Warning for heavy rain then snow and ice
Scattered heavy wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow will occur also with some accumulations of snow over high ground. The third alert for rain is in place for Connacht and counties Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal until midnight on Saturday.