The Limits of Secularization? The Resurgence of Orthodoxy in Post-Soviet Russia


Geoffrey Evans, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, New Road, Oxford OX1 1NF UK. E-mail:


The collapse of the Soviet Union ended a long period of state repression of religion, facilitating a possible religious revival in Russia. Despite evidence of increasing levels of Russian Orthodox identification in the 1990s, however, the debate over whether post-Soviet Russia is an exception to secularization trends elsewhere continues. We address this debate by examining trends in Orthodox identification and church attendance and their impact on conservative moral values, as well as the basis of religiosity in age cohorts, using a seven-wave national, stratified random sample survey covering 1993–2007. The analysis indicates continued growth in Orthodox self-identification, increased church attendance, and an increasingly strong association between religiosity and conservative morality over this time period. Moreover, signs of religious revival are most pronounced among the cohort of people who came to maturity after communism ended. The resurgence of Orthodoxy in Russia provides a robust exception to secularization trends in Western Europe.