Moscow, July 29, 2014
On July 28 the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the feast-day of Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, who baptized Russia in 988. Since June 1, 2010, by order of Dmitry Medvedev, the then President of the Russian Federation, July 28 has been officially celebrated as the Day of the Baptism of Russia. The Sreda Sociological Service provides information on the opinion of Russian citizens about the necessity of Orthodoxy for the country:
In the course of the survey 74% of Russian citizens agreed with the statement: “Russia needs Orthodoxy” (31% completely agree and 43% rather agree). 7% disagree with this statement (4% completely disagree and 3% rather disagree), and the other 19% agree in certain aspects and disagree in other aspects. Notably, no respondents refused to answer this question.
Orthodox Christians belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church mostly completely agree with the statement that Orthodoxy is necessary for Russia (47% among Orthodox believers completely agree and 31% throughout Russia on the whole). Also residents of the Central Federal District (43%), Muscovites(41%), and residents of cities with population of over one million (40%) mostly completely agree. The largest percentage of respondents who completely disagree with the statement is among non-believers (9% of non-believers and 3% all over Russia on average).
While the percentage of men who absolutely disagree with the statement or rather disagree (altogether 10%), or doubt (23%), is above average, the percentage of women who completely support or rather support the statement is, on the contrary, above average (altogether 80%). Age and education have no effect on the replies of the respondents, only the group of Russian residents with special secondary education has more people who disagree (here and hereafter the percentage of those who agree or disagree with the given statement within the stated group is cited in parentheses) that Orthodoxy is necessary (9%). As for occupations, leaders deny the statement more often (13%) while unemployed pensioners accept it (81%) more often.
Citizens with the lowest income throughout Russia—below 4,000 rubles—doubt above average stating that they agree in some aspects and disagree in other aspects with the statement that Russia needs Orthodoxy (24%). Citizens with incomes from 4,000 to 20,000 rubles more often agree with the statement (about 80%) while Russian residents with incomes over 20,000 rubles do not differ in any way from the average statistical data. Interestingly, the respondents who refused to indicate their monthly income more often state they do not agree with the necessity of Orthodoxy (13%).
Muscovites and residents of cities with a population of over one million people do not differ from other Russian respondents in their opinion. In cities with a population of between 250,000 and one million residents, there is a higher percent of those who do not support the given statement (12%); village residents, on the contrary, mostly support it (80%). Of all federal districts only the Central District differs from others in average statistical replies: here those who doubt are a minority (14%) and those supporting the statement are a majority (78%).
Finally, the most significant differences are demonstrated by faith groups. Thus, while on average throughout Russia the given statement is denied by 7%, among atheists the figures make 22%, another 39% agree in some aspects and disagree in others. Among Orthodox citizens (either considering themselves to be members of the Russian Orthodox Church or not) the percentage of opponents is extremely low (2% for each of the two groups) and the percentage of supporters (confident in the necessity of Orthodoxy) is extremely high (91% and 90% respectively). Interestingly, among the followers of Islam only 1% do not agree with the statement, “Russia needs Orthodoxy,” 33% agree in certain aspects and disagree in other aspects, and the remaining 65% fully agree.
It is curious that the percent of Russian residents believing that “Russia needs Orthodoxy” almost has not changed for the past two years. In 2012 the percentage of people agreeing with this statement was 73%, and in 2014 – 74%.