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|Print version. Published on site Rusnet.NL 6 November 2003
The majority of Russia's population has no religious affiliation due to the antireligious ideology of the Soviet Union.
The Russian Orthodox Church, headquartered in Moscow, has about 60 million adherents; the numbers have grown rapidly since the end of Soviet rule. There are also large communities of Old Believers, a group that broke with the Orthodox Church in the XVIIth cent. Other religions include other Christian churches, various sects of Islam, Lamaist Buddhism, Judaism, and tribal religions.
Partly in reaction to proselytising by Protestant evangelicals, Mormons, and others, a 1997 Russian law granted superior status to the Russian Orthodox Church (and other older Russian religions).
Schooling through the 8th grade is compulsory. There are over 500 institutions of higher learning with over 28 million students, and about 3,000 learned or scientific institutions.