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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    REAL RUSSIANS ARE ORTHODOX -- poll http://en.ria.ru/russia/20121123/177696597.html MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) – A growing number of Russians consider
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 23, 2012


      MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) – A
      growing number of Russians consider the Russian Orthodox Church to be a
      necessary feature of their national identity, a recent public opinion poll
      Some 38 percent of survey respondents said
      it was “very important” to be an Orthodox believer if one wants to be considered
      “an authentic Russian,” according to a report released earlier this week by
      independent pollster Levada Center.
      That is more than double the figure in a
      similar poll in 1996 - 15 percent - and up from 32 percent in 2003.
      “This is a result of successful propaganda, especially by the state-run
      television networks,” Levada Center's Oleg Savelyev told RIA Novosti on
      In Soviet times people would study the
      lineup of state leaders atop the Lenin Mausoleum during Revolution Day parades
      to divine the current pecking order. Today they look at Easter services in
      Christ the Savior Cathedral, he said.
      But some believers complain that Orthodox
      events don't get enough coverage.
      “More and more people are realizing that
      Russia is associated with real Christian values, unlike Europe with its
      propaganda of homosexuality and other pornographic freedoms,” said Igor
      Miroshnichenko, the deputy head of the Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers, a
      Russia-based fundamentalist organization.
      That trend is apparent in the passage this
      year of controversial laws in St. Petersburg and several other big cities aimed
      at protecting children from "gay propaganda."
      The Levada survey found that just 9 percent
      of respondents thought Orthodoxy was "not important at all" to the national
      identity, down from 32 percent in 1996 and 20 percent in 2003.
      Savelyev of Levada Center also noted that
      the clergy has gained greater influence in politics, which is reflected in
      public opinion.
      The Russian Orthodox Church has been making
      headlines throughout 2012, prompting a discussion about its increased role in
      the life of the nation. The prosecution of three women from the punk collective
      Pussy Riot for their performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral has
      split society, with some calling for mercy and others, including some senior
      clergy, calling for punishment. In August the three feminist rockers were
      sentenced to two years in jail, although one later had her sentence suspended
      and was released. 
      Miroshnichenko said Russians have begun to
      “understand that the Russian Orthodox Church and Christian values are under
      attack” and want to defend them. 
      Interestingly, barely half of the
      respondents said that Russian citizenship was an important element of national
      identity. Just 53 said it was “very important” to hold a Russian passport to be
      identified as a Russian, up from the 46 percent recorded in 1996 but down from
      58 in 2003. 
      A different survey by Levada Center
      revealed that around 79 percent of Russians describe themselves as Orthodox
      believers, while only 6 percent said they were Muslims.
      The poll results on national identity are
      based on interviews with 1,516 Russians. The margin of error is 3.3 percent.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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