Russians and religion: a sociological overview

Moscow, Russia – For every non-believer in Russia there are two believers, this according to the “Real Russia” sociological survey recently made public by the Institute for Social Projection, based on interviews with 15 000 people.

Non-believers (which includes atheists and believers in God not affiliated with any religion) are likely to be male (66.5 per cent) aged 30 to 60. Religiosity among women tends to be above the national average.

Non-believers tend to have secondary and specialised secondary education with 17 per cent graduating from high school. They are not nostalgic about the Soviet regime or obsessed by modern society’s wealth.

In choosing their main values, non-believers score high in diligence (42.6 per cent) and decency (30.5 per cent), but view intelligence, energy, independence, tolerance, will, responsibility and self-reliance as important. However, they are not as strong when it comes to gracefulness, tenderness and a sense of humour.

Parallel to these findings, researchers observed that the relationship between the Church and Russian society is growing closer.

The number of people attending worship services has increased in last 15 years by six to seven million. And, as the Levada Analytic Center shows, confidence in Church and other religious organisations in Russia has increased from 38 per cent in 2006 to 42 per cent in 2007.

But how people celebrate one of the most important Christian holidays, Easter, varies. About 84 per cent of respondents told the ROMIR monitoring agency that they bake Easter cakes and cook some special meal, 37 per cent go to visit cemeteries, 22 per cent attend the church.

Overall, for Russians Easter remains a family holiday. In fact, according to the Public Opinion Foundation, 42 per cent celebrate Easter with their families, 25 per cent invite guests or were invited by their friends. Finally, 16 per cent went to church.