Rosbalt News Agency, Apr. 28, 2003

MOSCOW, April 26. In recent years the number of Russians who consider themselves religious believers and the number of Russians who consider themselves Orthodox has increased. According to a recent survey by the Public Opinion fund , this year 69% of respondents said that they profess a religion. Moreover, 59% of those questioned identified themselves as Orthodox, 8% Muslim and 2% other religions. 30% of those questioned did not consider themselves religious. In 1997 the same index had 62% professing a religion and 38% not professing a religion.

In addition, the survey showed that 65% of Russians consider Easter a ‘special holiday.’ 83% of those questioned said they plan to celebrate Easter somehow or other. However, only 16% of those questions intended on celebrating the holiday in church. At the same time, 42% of respondents said they planned to celebrate Easter with their family around the table, 36% planned to consecrate Easter cake and eggs, and 32% planned to visit a cemetery. Lent was observed by 9% of Russians this year compared to 6% in 2000 and 8% in 2002.

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1500 respondents participated in the surveys which were held across Russia on August 9, 1997 and April 19, 2003.

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