Russians are less Orthodox but practice their religion more

42% of young people do not consider themselves religious, finds the newest official survey. Islam is clearly on the rise.

Evangelical Focus

Tass · MOSCOW · 15 AUGUST 2023 · 10:48 CET

Orthodox church in Moscow. / Photo: <a target="_blank" href=""> Santa Barbara </a>, Unsplash CC0.,
Orthodox church in Moscow. / Photo: Santa Barbara , Unsplash CC0.

According to a survey of the official All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, the overall percentage of Orthodox Christians has decreased in Russia in recent years.

A survey conducted in July 2023 shows that 57% of Russians identify as Orthodox Christians, 6% less than in 2019. But the number of young people identifying as Orthodox has grown from 23% in 2019 to 29% today.

"After over one thousand years, the Orthodox faith remains the most widespread religion in the country", says the authors of the research, conducted by the state-owned surveys centre.


Faith minorities and unbelievers

Furthermore, 5% of respondents identified with Islam and 19% called themselves non-believers. 6% consider themselves believers of other Christian minorities, such as Roman Catholics, evangelicals and other groups that are under pressure in Russia

Another 7% said they fluctuate between faith and disbelief, according to this survey.


A new religious configuration among Russian youth

Among people aged 18 to 24, the portion of non-believers has grown by 5 points since 2019 to 42% today.

There is a significant number of 25 to 34-year-olds who fluctuate between belief and unbelief or who consider themselves believers but without adherence to any specific religion (10% each).

In the country as whole, the Orthodox outnumber Muslims 57% to 5%, but amongst the youth, the ratio is only 29% to 9%, which experts said it could be due to both the changing attitudes about religion and increasing Muslim immigration to Russia.


More committed believers

Despite the drop of believers, the number of those who go to churches, mosques or synagogues at least once a month is now 15% compared to 7% in 2012.

Moreover, the share of those who call religion very important to themselves has grown from 6% in 1993 to 15% in 2023, and the total share of Russians for whom religion is important is now 40% (1993 – 28%).


Heaven, hell and angels

According to the study, the Russians surveyed believe in God more often than in the devil (66% vs. 47%), but in hell more often than in heaven (44% vs. 41%).

More than a half (56%) also believe in angels. 20% do not believe in any of the above.

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