Evolution of public attitudes toward Orthodoxy in contemporary Russia

Makarkin, Aleksei Vladimirovich
Professor, the Department of Politics and Economics, HSE University, Moscow, Russia


The large-scale growth of religiosity in post-Soviet Russia and the decay of this process in the second decade of the 21st century have been noted by many experts (e. g. Ronald Inglehart, "Religion's Sudden Decline: What's Causing it, and What Comes Next?) The sociological research also points to generational changes in Russian society: the younger the Russians are, the more secular they tend to be.
This dynamic is stable because it is connected with internal changes in mass consciousness, which is confirmed by surveys on other topics. The construction of one's own worldview is taking place on the basis of the spread of global world values. The "core" of practicing believers (parishioners) has stabilized, with no tendency to expand. There is little "personalization" of the church, including the presence of moral authorities. The powerful incentive that led to the religious revival of the late 1980s and early 1990s and attracted large numbers of young people to the church at the time-the crisis of Soviet ideology and the search for alternatives based on cultural and historical traditions-is currently irrelevant.
The maturing of young people during the change of generations can therefore have only a limited influence on their attitudes toward religion. The process of secularization in Russia will continue, which is a major challenge for the Russian Orthodox Church in the long run.

Keywords: Russian Orthodox Church, public opinion in Russia, religious revival, modernization, secularization, generational change, practicing believers