Church estimates for Orthodox believers halved – poll
(Alina Lobzina – Moscow News – themoscownews.com – December 19, 2012)
The number of Russian Christians came under scrutiny after polls registered dwindling ranks of the faithful.
The most surprising finding was that only 41 percent of all Russians say they are members of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to a poll carried out by Sreda, a research service. This number is twice less than the estimated of 80 percent based on the figure stated in a study by an influential independent pollster, Levada Center, back in 2009.
The polling organization also revealed the result of its investigation in believers of the Russian population earlier this week, lowering the number of Orthodox by 6 percent in comparison with the survey from three years ago.
The second biggest group in Levada’s poll was atheists. According to Sreda, the number of people who said they believed in god but belonged to no religion, all together 25 percent, was the second largest, and atheists, who make 10 percent of all the country’s population, came third.
Estimates for the number of Muslims, made by both pollsters, were very close.
Levada has put it at 7 percent, which is nearly twice as much as the figure published in its 2009 research. Sreda’e estimate was 0.5 percent less.