Friday, May 6, 2022

Moscow Stops Publishing Yet Another Statistic It Took Pride In – the Number of Russians Attending Church on Easter

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 24 – After the end of communism, Moscow has published regularly and apparently with pride statistics on the number of Russians who have attended Orthodox churches on major holidays. But this Russian Easter, although some regions have continued that practice, the interior ministry has not, issuing data only on the numbers of churches which held services.

            According to the internal affairs ministry, Orthodox Easter services took place in 12,500 churches situated in 7300 cities, towns and villages, a figure that means such services did not occur in nearly a third of the ROC MP churches Moscow claims. But the ministry didn’t report the number of attendees (

            Some regions followed the old practice and reported the number of those attending while others marched lockstep with the new and did not, yet another example of growing bureaucratic confusion if not disobedience and a trend that means those concerned about such social phenomena must look beyond the center for data on what is going on.

            One place where local officials did continue to report the number of church attendees was Moscow where officials said about 230,000 people  out of a total population of more than 13 million) attended Easter eve services, and 1.5 million attended services at some point during Eastern weekend.

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