East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter 2000, Covering the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe

Religiosity of Russian Youth

Editor's Note:  Data derived from a 1997 survey conducted by the Russian Independent Institute of Social and National Problems and funded by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.  Respondents from Russia's 12 territorial-economic regions, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, included 1,974 youth, ages 17 to 26, and a control group of 774 adults, ages 40 to 60.

What role should religious organizations play in the spiritual and social life of our country?
Youth Adults
Religious organizations should play an active role in society. 5.4% 7.0%
Activity should be directed only toward religious needs of believers. 24.0% 24.0%
Activity should be strictly limited to strengthening spirituality and morality in society.  49.2%  59.7%

Religious pluralism
Youth Adults
Orthodoxy should become a state religion. 11.5% 16.3%
Religions should be equal under the law, independent of their doctrine and history. 40.0% 40.8%
Preference should be given to traditional religions.  23.2% 28.2%

Belief in God
Youth Adults
Believe in God 31.2% 34.9%
Waver between belief and non-belief 27.0% 27.6%
Indifferent toward religion 13.9% 14.7%
Do not believe in God 14.6% 13.5%

Note:  Youth (12.4 percent), somewhat more than adults (9.3 percent), are attracted to various forms of nontraditional occult and New Age religious expressions including magic, sorcery, fortune-telling, spells, astrology, and belief in contact with spirits.  According to survey data, large quantities of occult literature circulate in Russia, especially among youth and women.

What do you do in your free time?
Muslim Protestant Orthodox Total Youth
Percent of youth of various confessions who responded "attend church or religious association"  13.3 57.1 4.0   3.2

Source:  M. Gorhkov et al.  Molodezh novoi Rossii:  Kakaia ona?  Chem zhivet?  K chemu stremitsia? [Youth of a New Russia:  What Are They Like?  How Do They Live?  What Do They Strive For?]  (Moscow:  Rossiiskii Nezavizimyi Institut Sotsialnykh i Natsionalnikh Problem, 1998), 64 pp.  Available online at http://www.nns.ru/analytdoc/molod.html.

"Religiosity of Russian Youth," East-West Church & Ministry Report 8 (Winter 2000), 7.

Written permission is required for reprinting or electronic distribution of any portion of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.

© 2000 East-West Church and Ministry Report
ISSN 1069-5664

EWC&M Report | Contents | Search Back Issues | From Our Readers | Subscribe