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Just 3 percent of Russians say they’ll fast for Lent

Source: VTsIOM

The overwhelming majority of Russians say they will not fast for Great Lent this year, according to a new poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM).

Only 3 percent of Russians say they plan to fast for Great Lent, the most important fasting season in the church year in Orthodox Christianity, which comes ahead of Easter, celebrated on April 12 this year in Russia. A total of 6 percent of Russians say they’ll fast for the last week before Easter, and a total of 9 percent say they’ll observe Great Lent in part. Of all the Russians who self-identify as Christian Orthodox, only 11 percent say they will fast for Great Lent this year.

Just 46 percent of those who promised to fast this year say they will give up meat and fatty foods. 47 percent will forgo alcohol, 42 percent say they’ll stop swearing, 33 percent promise to cut their entertainment consumption, 32 percent will quit smoking, and 19 percent will stop having sex.

43 percent of all Russians, however, plan to paint Easter eggs. Among those who plan to fast ahead of Easter, 58 percent say they, too, will paint eggs.

Most respondents (67 percent) say they’re certain there’s nothing preventing people today from fasting during Great Lent, if an individual truly wishes to observe the holiday. Another 23 percent of those surveyed say modern living conditions often don’t allow people to adhere fully to the holiday’s restrictions.


A VTsIOM poll in 2014 on religion showed that 68 percent of Russians self-identified as Christian Orthodox, while only 13 percent of these people say they regularly attend church.

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