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30% of Russia's servicemen are believers - Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) - About 30% of Russia's servicemen are believers, according to statistics cited by a Defense Ministry spokesman on Tuesday.

   "The number of believers among Russian army personnel amounts to 27%. The figure for believers among contract servicemen is higher [up to 30%]," the source reports.

   In terms of denomination, believing servicemen are Orthodox Christians - 74%, Moslems - 9%, Buddhists - 3%, representatives of other confessions - 2%, and yet another 12% are undecided.

   According to the source, most believers comprehend religion superficially. Many are inclined to question basic religious dogma, and they are not guided by their faith's commandments in their actions. Religious values, especially among those who adhere to the Christian faith, as a rule include elements from other religious, superstitions, and so forth.

   "Nearly half of the servicemen regarding themselves as Orthodox Christians have outward notions of the basic symbols of faith. Among the servicemen identifying themselves with Moslems, Buddhists, and followers of non-traditional movements and cults, the share who know the fundamentals of their teaching is relatively higher - over 80%," noted the source.

   He said that "among commissioned officers, the number of those fluctuating between faith and atheism has increased," with some of them bolstering the ranks of potential believers, the source said.

   There are 37 Orthodox churches on the grounds of military garrisons at present.

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