Church vs. TV in Russia and Italy

Edward Luttwak wrote in his 1969 classic, Coup d’État:

Though most male Italians seldom or never go to church, Italian women are keen and regular churchgoers. Italy being a democratic country where women have the vote, it is obvious that if the organized Church is willing to direct its followers to vote for a particular party, that party will gain the bulk of the women’s vote before it even opens the electoral campaign. The Church has generally been willing to give such specific directions, and one particular party has benefited: the Democrazia Cristiana (DC)… It is hardly surprising therefore that the Church has been able to dominate the DC and that, through the DC, it has influenced every aspect of Italian national life.

As in Italy in the 1960s, most Russian churchgoers are female, but in 2013, only 14% of Russians visit religious services once a month or more often. My rough estimate is the the split between Eastern Orthodox churchgoers and other faithful is 12% to 2%. The share of people who visit places of worship every week is probably less than 5%. Besides, political sermonizing, for all I know, is unusual in the Russian Orthodox church.

Television is the Kremlin’s number one propaganda conduit. A bishop speaking on TV may have greater influence on public opinion than all the sermons of priests under his supervision.

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