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Maria Ukhvatova (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Orthodoxy and Voting Behavior in Russia

My paper analyzes influence between the regional diversity of religion and the voting behavior in Russia in 2010s. The existing studies of the Russian case show this relationship to a certain extent, however there is no study that focuses on the regional level. The results of the statistical analysis, which are based on a religious survey, conducted by the research group SREDA (the project bases on data obtained in the course of a nationwide survey, which is a representative sample of the Russian Federation and 79 regions. The project includes 50 questions about religion, relation to the State, traditional values, etc.), show a correlation between religiosity and the outcome of the Federal elections in 2011-2012. Religiosity is positively associated with voting for the United Russia in 2011 and V.V. Putin in 2012. The results of the analysis may indicate that additional votes of the party of power and the president can be brought by regions whose population follows ritual ceremonies, and "non-religious activism" does not play a role. Also factor analysis show two groups of voters: 1) "believing activists", a group of people who are less important in faith and orthodoxy, but who are more focused on public activity: social work, charity, volunteerism, traditional foundations; 2) "ritual believers", which is more important ritual part of the Orthodox faith: to observe religious precepts, confess, pray. An important result is the coincidence of the most religious regions with the former communist "red belt".