Orthodoxy and political behavior in postcommunist Russia

Stephen White, Ian Mcallister

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Following the collapse of communism, religious observance increased dramatically in Russia. Many observers believed that religion would provide a basis for political mobilization, but this has not eventuated. According to nationally representative surveys conducted in 1993 and 1996, levels of church attendance in postcommimist Russia have stabilized; about three-quarters identify themselves as Orthodox and 17 percent as atheist, although only about one in ten attend church at least once a month. Frequent attenders were less likely to vote in 1993, but in the rather different circumstances of the 1995 Duma election they were more likely to vote than self-declared atheists. Frequent attenders were also more likely to engage in other forms of political participation, particularly writing to the press and contacting officials. But there were relatively weak consequences for voting, in December 1995 or in the 1996 presidential election, in the absence of major parties that deliberately mobilized a confessional vote. Several explanations are advanced to account for the weak influence of religion on politics, notably the absence of a civil society and of competition between denominations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)359-372
    Number of pages14
    JournalReview of Religious Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000


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