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Half of Russians in Poll Say They Are Atheists

January 24, 1998|From Associated Press

MOSCOW — Despite a post-Soviet religious revival, about half of Russians consider themselves atheists, according to a new poll.

Forty-six percent of respondents described themselves as non-believers, 45% considered themselves Orthodox Christians and 2% said they are Muslim, according to the survey by the Russian Center for Public Opinion Research.

Other faiths registered at statistically insignificant levels: 0.2% said they were Catholic, 0.1% said they were Jews and 1% claimed allegiance to other faiths. About 6% said they could not answer.

Explaining their religious convictions, about 31% said they have always believed in God, 13% said they began to believe in God after professing atheism, 26% said they have never believed in God and 2% said they once believed in God but lost their faith. Of the rest, 24% said they could not reply and 4% gave other answers.

The poll of 2,400 people had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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