POPULATION142,517,670 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA$17,000 (2011 est.)
RELIGIONSRussian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.) note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule
ALSO IN EUROPE AND RUSSIAAlbania
AT THE CENTER
Conference on Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights - Russia and Asia Session (Full Screen)
Russia's religious complexion is shaped by a combination of the country's strong Orthodox Christian heritage and its more recent communist policies. The Russian Orthodox Church developed symbiotically with the emergent Russian state during the medieval and early modern periods, evolving into a pillar of the Tsarist regime that governed the country until the early twentieth century. The Russian Revolution of 1917 severed this close relationship, and ghe ensuing Communist government of the Soviet Union aimed to reduce the power of churches and ultimately eliminate religion from society. This goal was pursued aggressively but inconsistently by Joseph Stalin (1924-53) and to a lesser extent by his successors. The end of Communism in 1991 brought about a gradual mending of the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the government and religion in Russia has subsequently undergone a revitalization. Today, the Russian Constitution maintains the separation of church and state and grants the freedom of religion, but critics point to persistent discrimination against minority faiths, including Muslims, many of whom live in regions such as Chechnya.