An interesting email from Prof. Alexander Lebedeff on the state of religion in Russia:
I would like to share the latest information on religion in Russia, based on a poll by the newspaper Izvestia and the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (ACSPO). The text of the article [unfortunately in Russian–JD] is here.
Briefly, it states that at the end of 2006, 15 years after the fall of the atheistic Soviet Union, 86% of the population believes in God, and only 16% consider themselves atheists.
Fully 63% of the (adult) population consider themselves to be Orthodox Christians. This is 75% of those who believe in God.
The article states that in the beginning of the 1990s, when the ACSPO first began to analyze the data on religion, only 34% of the adult population considered themselves to be Orthodox, by 1999, this had risen to 50%, and now is at 63%.
The percentage of those who are ‘churched,’ defined as those who attend churches at least once a month and regularly partake of the mystery of Holy Communion, is also rising. In the ‘perestroika’ years,it was around 4%, and that has now risen to 10-12%. If 15 years ago the average age the majority of people attending services was 60, at present the average age has fallen to 48, which is much closer to the average age of the population in general — 44.
Even more important is that the percentage of young people (those under 25) who consider themselves Orthodox is 58%.
This poll was taken in 153 population centers in 46 regions and republics of Russia.