» 05/05/2011, 00.00
In Russia, 82 per cent of the people believe in God
Russia is one of the most religious people in Europe. One Russian in two is Orthodox; 4 per cent are Muslim. Few are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Buddhist.
Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The overwhelming majority of Russians (82 per cent) believe in God, this according to a survey by the Public Opinion Foundation and the Wednesday sociological service, which includes employees of the former sociological service of the synodal Department for Affairs of Youth. This makes Russia one of the most religious nations in Europe. The study was conducted with 1,500 respondents, 18 years of age or older, in 44 regions of the country.
This is astonishing. A country where atheism was taught for generations and which exported it around the world, only 13 per cent said they did not believe in God. The remaining 5 per cent said they had difficulty answering.
Twice as many men as women are atheists (68 vs 32 per cent). Nonbelievers were strong among workers and the poorest respondents ("I do not even have money for food").
Among believers, 27 per cent do not belong to any organised religion, a proportion that rises to 34 per cent for the 18 to 24 group and 38 per cent for students.
Four per cent of respondents said they were Muslim. Few are Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. Half of all believers said they were Russian Orthodox.
Women constitute 62 per cent of the Orthodox group against 38 per cent for men. Forty per cent lived in cities of 250,000 or more.
However, many respondents see Orthodoxy as part of their Russian identity. Only 3 per cent go to church each week (see “Ortodossia russa: identità etnica o religiosa?” in AsiaNews, 2009 3 July 2009).
Compared to another survey released by Interfax-Religiia, Wednesday’s results indicate that Russia is one of the least atheistic nations in Europe. In Switzerland, atheists represent 37 per cent of the population; in Germany, they are 31 per cent; in great Britain, they are 34 per cent, and in Belgium, 36 per cent.
Almost one Russian in three favourably inclined towards the Catholic Church
The Foundation 'Public Opinion' (Obshczestvennoe mnenie) reveals that favourable opinion of Catholic Church rose from 16 to 30 per cent in five years.
Survey, almost half of Russians believe that the church is under attack
A study of the Vtsiom center reveals that 46% of Russians believe that the Church in need of protection. 53% of respondents were in favor of initiatives such as the day in defense of the faith.
Russians believe in God and in the Church’s role in support of social mores
A survey shows that 42 per cent of those interviewed considers themselves religious and that 16 per cent prays one or more times a day. For 45 percent the degree of influence the Church exerts on politics is satisfactory.
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Streets protesters tend to come from the country’s developing middle class. For now, it has no recognised leader. For organisers, what matters is to educate civil society and de-legitimise Putin’s party.
Russians and religion: a sociological overview
A recent survey indicates that one Russian in three is a non-believer. On average, they are male, 30 to 60-years-old, high school graduates and like diligence and decency. The same study shows an increasingly closer relationship between the Church and society.
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