A poll published on Tuesday by the state-run pollster VTsIOM revealed that about 75 percent of all Russians believe that the Church should stay out of political affairs. However, a sizable percentage of all respondents (43 percent) see the current Church/state relations as “balanced and harmonious”. The pollster said, “The Church’s political influence grows and its relations with the state are harmonious. However, the majority of Russians recommend that the church take a more active part in spiritual and religious issues instead of interfering with state affairs”. 63 percent of respondents see the church as an influential institution in society’s moral and spiritual life. About 50 percent of Russians feel the Church influences domestic policies, whilst 43 percent say it exerts some influence over the foreign policy as well. Some 20 percent of Russians believe that the Church is too active in the political life.
The VTsIOM report said, “Three-quarters of Russians are convinced that the Church should stay out of politics (75 percent). 44 percent believe that it should influence the spiritual and moral life of society as a whole, whilst one-third (31 percent) think that the church should limit its activities solely to religious matters. Those who consider active participation of religious bodies admissible in all spheres of social life, including politics, constitute a minority of 16 to 17 percent”. Those who believe that the church’s influence should be restricted to religious issues are mostly young people (37 percent of the subtotal) and have a higher education (33 percent of the subtotal). Most people who think that the Church has a political role are middle-aged (20 percent), with no higher education, living in smaller towns and villages (22 percent).
The survey was conducted 9-10 June 2012 with 1,600 respondents from 138 cities and towns taking part. The margin of error was below 3.4 percent.
18 August 2012