The constitution (Article 28) guarantees freedom of religion, follows the principle of the separation of state and religion and expressly excludes the establishment of a state religion (Article 14). The religious communities are subject to state registration at the federal and local levels. The legal basis of the state’s religious policy is the Law of Religion of the Russian Federation (in force since September 24, 1997). Its preamble highlights the special contribution of the Russian Orthodox Church to the building of the Russian state and to the development of the spirit and culture of Russia. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions in Russia are respected as “an inseparable part of the historical heritage of the peoples of Russia”. The law distinguishes between “religious organizations” (religious communities that have been recognized as having been resident in Russia for a long time) and “religious groups” (religious communities that have been resident in Russia for less than 15 years). In contrast to religious groups, religious organizations have the right to run their own educational institutions, newspapers and commercial enterprises, and can set up central organizational structures (“central religious organizations”). The Interreligious Council of Russia is the advisory body of the President of the Russian Federation on issues relating to religious organizations and groups. In contrast to religious groups, religious organizations have the right to run their own educational institutions, newspapers and commercial enterprises, and can set up central organizational structures (“central religious organizations”). The Interreligious Council of Russia is the advisory body of the President of the Russian Federation on issues relating to religious organizations and groups. In contrast to religious groups, religious organizations have the right to run their own educational institutions, newspapers and commercial enterprises, and can set up central organizational structures (“central religious organizations”). The Interreligious Council of Russia is the advisory body of the President of the Russian Federation on issues relating to religious organizations and groups. According to COUNTRYAAH, Russia is a country beginning with letter R.
There are no official statistics on religion. Surveys from various organizations provide e.g. Partly strongly diverging data. According to the Christian churches, over half the population is baptized; however, only a much smaller number can be regarded as church members in the narrower sense (i.e. practicing believers) (around 15–20%). Studies by non-denominational institutions put the proportion of Christians in the total population partly lower (around 47%), but partly also considerably higher (up to 77%).
If one follows cautious estimates, the largest religious community is the Russian Orthodox Church, to which (in relation to baptism) around 59 million people are assigned (a good 41% of the population). In addition to the Russian Orthodox Church, five other Orthodox churches are officially registered: the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (reunited with the Russian Orthodox Church since 2007), the Autonomous Orthodox Church, the Truly Orthodox Church, the Free Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (Ukrainian Churches). All Orthodox minorities together make up about 1.5% of the population. The Orthodox Christians (0.3% of the population), to be considered separately from this, mostly belong to the two priestly ecclesiastical jurisdictions (Popowzy).
The number of Protestant Christians is estimated at around 300,000 (about 0.2% of the population). The following are registered with the state: Pentecostals (0.1%), Evangelical Christians (Baptists), Adventists and, as the central religious organization, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and other countries (ELKRAS).
For the spiritual care of the approximately 140,000 Catholic Christians (0.1% of the population, mainly Lithuanians, Poles, Germans) there has been an archdiocese (Archdiocese of Our Lady of Moscow; established in 1991 as the Apostolic Administration for the European part of Russia) with three Suffragan dioceses (bishopric in Novosibirsk [diocese of the Transfiguration of Novosibirsk; established in 1991 as Apostolic Administration for Western Siberia], Irkutsk [Diocese of Saint Joseph of Irkutsk; established in 1999 as Apostolic Administration for Eastern Siberia and the Far East] and Saratov [Bishopric of Saint Clement of Saratov; established in 1999 as the Apostolic Administration for Southern Russia]), plus an exemte Apostolic Prefecture and an exemte Apostolic Exarchate for Catholics of the Byzantine Rite.
The second largest religious community is made up of Muslims, whose number can be assumed to be at least 9.4 million (6.6% of the population), although individual estimates show up to 22 million (15.4%); the largest Muslim community outside the traditional Muslim areas of distribution (Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, North Caucasus [Dagestan; Chechnya]) are the roughly 800,000 Muslims in Moscow. The Supreme Coordination Center for Spiritual Leaders of Russian Muslims (founded in 1992) and the Council of Russian Muslims (founded in 1996) are collegial associations of independent regional muftiates.
The Jewish community has around 140,000 members (0.1% of the population). Over a third of Russian Jews live in Moscow (seat of the Chief Rabbi of Russia) and in Saint Petersburg, but only very few still live in the Jewish Autonomous Region in Russia’s Far East. Historically, the roots of the Jewish community go back to the 15th century (Moscow Empire). – Buddhism is widespread in the form of Tibetan Buddhism in Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tuva and in the Irkutsk and Chita areas and is considered (religiously and culturally) by 700,000 to 1 million people (0.5–0.7% of the population) as theirs ancestral religion. The spiritual center of Buddhism in Russia is the nearby Ulan-Ude Dazan Monastery in Iwolga. – Traditions of shamanism have been preserved among the “small peoples of the north” (e.g. among the Yakuts and Tuvins). Among the Mari, the traditional folk religion (alongside Orthodox Christianity) is practiced by up to half of the people. – In addition to traditional Russian religious special communities such as Duchoborzen and Molokans After 1990 numerous new religious-eschatological, religious-nationalist and neo-pagan groups of Russian origin emerged.