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Is Russia Atheist?
Russia is considered to be a multi-faith country, with both religious and non-religious people living within its borders. As for its religious composition, the country is a mix of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. But there is no definitive answer to the question of whether Russia is an atheist country. Though there is a general consensus that Russia is a more secular nation than some of its neighboring countries, this is not a black and white issue.
The Russian Orthodox Church is the country’s largest religion and many view it as the nation’s “one true faith.” Yet, it’s important to note that the Russian Orthodox Church is not a unified structure. The Russian Orthodox Church is divided into several independent churches, making it difficult to come to a single conclusion about its influence on Russian society. Though the majority of Russians identify as Orthodox Christian, many are not active in their religious beliefs, leaving the question of how much their beliefs truly influence their daily lives open to debate.
When it comes to atheism, Russia is generally considered to be one of the most secular countries in Eastern Europe. However, there is no official data on atheism in Russia, so determining the exact number of atheists or agnostics among its population is difficult.
The Soviet Union, which was in power from 1922 until 1991, was arguably the most atheist country in the world at the time. During this period, the government actively discouraged religion, persecuting religious people and banning many religious practices and symbols. This was primarily an effort to create an atheistic society and weaken the traditional power of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Though the Soviet Union is no longer in power, its legacy still has an effect on the people of Russia. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, religious freedom was restored, allowing people to practice their faith openly. This has had a significant impact on the religious landscape of the country as many Russians who had been previously denied the right to practice their faith, have now returned to their religious roots.
Despite this, atheism is still relatively widespread in the country. According to a survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center in 2018, approximately one fifth of Russians (18%) identified as atheist or agnostic. However, it should be noted that this does not mean that all of these people are actively opposed to religious beliefs. Many of those who identify as atheist or agnostic in Russia may still have some form of religious belief and participate in religious activities, simply without identifying themselves as members of any particular religion.
In conclusion, it is difficult to classify Russia as either atheistic or religious as there is no single label that fits its population. Though it is often viewed as more secular than some of its Eastern European neighbors, atheism is still relatively widespread in the country and the legacy of the Soviet Union continues to have an effect on its religious landscape.
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