Usklikkus muutuvas Eesti ühiskonnas

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In my research I attempt at describing the differences between the religiousness of Estonians and the Russian residents in Estonia, and also how their religiousness has changed in the 90s. On the basis of the social survey of 1998 I am explaining whether religion is a factor that strengthens the ethnic identity of the Russians in Estonia.

In 1990 considerably more Russians than Estonians considered themselves religious. The results of an international survey conducted by World Values Survey (World Values) show that there was the lowest percentage of people who considered themselves religious among Estonians, especially among Estonian women. In 1990 more Russians than Estonians believed in Christian principles. According to the social- demographic background variables the difference between Estonians and Russians was great: women with the lowest income appeared to be the most religious group.

Among Russians, the peculiarity was correlation between religiousness and income: the ratio of people regarding themselves religious decreased together with the increase of their income. People living in Tallinn and Virumaa believed in God more often than ethnic Russians of other regions.

Among Estonians the two clear peculiarities are firstly, the low religiousness among women, and secondly the fact that the less the number of people in population centres the lower the belief in God. The most religious Estonians live in Virumaa and Western Estonia. People who live in villages consider themselves the least religious.

Both Estonians and Russians equally believed in astrology and palingenesis. The group who to the least extent believed in Christian principles were Estonian young people with secondary education. Estonian respondents also believed in astrology, but considerably less than in God, whereas among Russian respondents the belief in astrology was equally strong with the belief in God. Thus we may presume that for Estonian young people astrology is one of the elements that compensates religion for them.
According to the information from the Churches, 98% of Lutheran congregations in Estonia used the Estonian language. As a result of the Second World War and the Soviet period Estonian has obtained such leading position in Lutheran congregations that it has ever had in the past. Corresponding developments may also be observed among Orthodox churches. In 1999 most of the congregations belonging to the Constantinople Orthodox Church were Estonian, whereas the Russian language prevailed in congregations belonging to the Orthodox Church subjected to Moscow Patriarchate (this church was not registered with the Ministry of Internal Affairs Republic of Estonia in 2001). Both of these churches have some mixed bilingual congregations that have not been taken into account. The increasing interest of Russians and Russian-speaking community towards religion is expressed in the fact that several religious denominations expand themselves among the Russian-speaking people of Estonia.

According to the surveys conducted by World Values and European Values Estonians, differently from Russians, have secularised above the average level and this is why religion at the end of 90s has not had as big importance in building up national identity for Estonians as it has been for Estonian Russian-speaking community.

In 1990s religion for Russians has become something common for people who have migrated to Estonia from different regions of Russia. The influence of Russia for most of the Russians of Estonia is strong, mainly because of their weak knowledge of the Estonian language, which results in watching Russian TV channels.

According to the variables measuring ethnicity, in 1998 less than a half of the Russians were Estonian citizens. More than half of the Russians were the citizens of either Russia or some other country. A smaller number of people had no citizenship whatsoever. Birthplace of a person appeared to be an important factor to identify himself/herself. Most Russian citizens were born in Russia. The variable of national pride did not differentiate Russians as much as birthplace and the command of the Estonian language. Most of the respondents did not speak Estonian well, except the individuals who were Estonian citizens.

The groups formed as a result of cluster analysis did not divide according to strong or weak identity as it was preliminarily assumed. Also in the groups created by the dimension of religiousness there were more similarities than differences. The hypothesis – religion is an important component of ethnic identity for the Russians of Estonia, proved to be true. In 1998 an inseparable part of the ethnic identity for Russians was being religious in wider sense, more particularly being Russian Orthodox, for more than a half of the respondents.

In March / April 1998 (N=997) the Finnish Academy survey project conducted a survey together with centre EMOR with an aim to find out the religiousness of the Estonian population, values and ethnicity and their relation to moral issues. The number of people questioned has always been at least around one thousand. The comparative survey used was the World Values Survey (WVS) from 1991 (N=1008) and 1995 (N=1021). In addition religious-social surveys from 1992 (N=1013) and 1994 (N=1541) were used. This first thorough survey on the subject “The Religiousness and ethnicity of Estonians and Russians” in the theological department of Helsinki University.

Bidragets översatta titelReligiousness of Estonians and Russians in Estonia
FörlagTartu University Press
Antal sidor175
ISBN (tryckt)9985-56-630-0
StatusPublicerad - 2001
MoE-publikationstypC1 Separata vetenskapliga böcker

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