Reli­gions in Rus­sia


Ortho­dox Chris­tian­ity, Islam, Judaism and Bud­dhism are Russia’s tra­di­tional reli­gions, and are all legally a part of Russia’s “his­tor­i­cal her­itage” Traced back to the Chris­tian­iza­tion of Kievan Rus’ in the 10th cen­tury, Russ­ian Ortho­doxy is the dom­i­nant reli­gion in the coun­try; smaller Chris­t­ian denom­i­na­tions such as Catholics, Armen­ian Gre­go­ri­ans and var­i­ous Protes­tant churches also exist.. The Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church was the country’s state reli­gion prior to the Rev­o­lu­tion and remains the largest reli­gious body in the coun­try. 95% of the reg­is­tered Ortho­dox parishes belong to the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church while there are a num­ber of smaller Ortho­dox Churches. How­ever, the vast major­ity of Ortho­dox believ­ers do not attend church on a reg­u­lar basis. Easter is the most pop­u­lar reli­gious hol­i­day in Rus­sia, cel­e­brated by a large seg­ment Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion, includ­ing large num­bers of those who are non-​religious. Most of the Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion cel­e­brates Easter by mak­ing tra­di­tional Easter cakes, coloured eggs and paskha.

Esti­mates of the num­ber of Mus­lims in Rus­sia range from 79 mil­lion by local sources, to 1520 mil­lion by West­ern and Islamic sources. Most Mus­lims live in the Volga-​Ural region, as well as in the Cau­ca­sus, Moscow, St. Peters­burg and West­ern Siberia. Adher­ents of Islam rep­re­sent major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in Dages­tan, Ingushetia, Tatarstan, Bashko­r­tostan, Cheche­nia, Kabardino-​Balkaria and Karachay-​Cherkessia.

Bud­dhism is tra­di­tional in three regions of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion: Bury­a­tia, Tuva, and Kalmykia. Some res­i­dents of the Siber­ian and Far East­ern regions, such as Yaku­tia and Chukotka, prac­tice shaman­ist, pan­the­is­tic, and pagan rites, along with the major reli­gions. Induc­tion into reli­gion takes place pri­mar­ily along eth­nic lines. Slavs are sig­nif­i­cantly Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian, Tur­kic speak­ers are pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim, and Mon­golic peo­ples are gen­er­ally Buddhists.