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RELIGION        The Russian Eastern Orthodox Church (REOC) was  established in Russia around 988 A.D.  (*KEY*) It was the sole  stable governing body from this time until the Mongols arrived;  (*KEY*) afterward, it greatly strengthened during the Mongolian  occupation (1235-1460) as a compliant facilitator.  At almost exactly  the same time as the end of Mongol occupation, 1462, The Greek  Eastern Orthodox Church, the originator of the faith, disappeared  with the fall of its capital Constantinople (now Istanbul) to the Turks.    This was a real heyday for the REOC, as now not only was it at the  height of its power in Russia but it then as well became the seat of  the ENTIRE religion, with its capital in Moscow.  Its disproportionate  influence and power over the monarchy and its land ownership  grew unabated until Peter the Great reined in  the Church in  considerably during his rule (1696-1725).  After this, the Church and  the Monarchy coordinated together to adapt to societal changes yet  maintain control together.  Things started to change in the 1860’s  for 4 reasons:  1. The freed serfs became land owners and thus a  bit more worldly and independent.  2.  The basic tenets of populism  and socialism began to appeal to the few educated people,  regardless of class or social stature, especially those under 30.  3.   Writers like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were questioning the value of  faith with such: If God is so great, why do innocent children die?   4)   Darwinism and evolutionary theory.  REO Christianity is an  intensely personal faith compared to Western Christianity, so these  things had more of an effect on those affected individuals.   Here  we must back up to the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796)  and her land accumulations which gathered up well over 90% of  Europe’s Jewish population.  This began a hate-hate relationship  between Russians and Jews that continues to this day.  There were  lots of Polish Catholics in Catherine’s grouping as well, and the  most dissident of those were exiled to Siberia after uprisings in the  1830’and 1860’S.  They have been almost universally been bred  into extinction, but churches still do exist there.  Back to the mid-  late 1800’s and the colonization of Central Asia: Muslim territory.   Some Jews, Catholic Poles, and Muslims tried to assimilate but in  general, (*KEY*) Russians tend to be highly racially discriminatory.   Marxism erupts in the 1870’s.  The industrial revolution’s growing  proletariat and urban masses were outpacing REOC expansion,  
while the close relationship between the REOC and the ever-more-detested  Monarchy weakened its  bonds with the masses.  Revolutionaries targeted the  REOC and the Tsar equally.  Many Jews were instrumental in affecting the  Great Socialist Revolutions of 1905 and 1917-18, which abruptly and effectively  ended the REOC in Russia until 1991.  Jewish people, maintaining a low profile, have maintained their influence on Soviet society and beyond to this day,  though starting in the 1980’s many began immigrating to Israel and the U.S.A.   Muslims generally stayed in the lands of their ancestors until 1991, after when  many moved to The Russian Federation seeking migrant work.   In 1991, many  REOC restoration drives were begun, with Church rebuilding being mostly being  funded by the new Russian Federation.  What has been more difficult is getting   people  to revisit the faith, since 3+ generations born since 1918 were denied  access to it.  Many Russians now simply wear a chain/cross and visit church  periodically, stating belief in God in general.  Even though the post-1991  governments have tried to position themselves as anti-socialist and pro-church,  very few people believe them.  Chinese people are having the similar problems  with their government’s position on Buddhism.  Regarding Serbia and its special link to Russia:  it is a very strong link, indeed, which predates REOC  completely,  going  back thousands of years to the times when agriculturists  drove hunter/gatherers  off of the Western  European plains.  Serbia is a high spot  geographically and has always been bridged  to Russia nationality-wise.  The REOC only  makes the bond stronger: Their mutual Pan-  Slavism and the views regarding the  greatness of the Slavic race, oiled and  lubricated by the REOC, make the link that  much stronger.  On Asian faiths, and Asians in  general:  Russians and Asians hate each other but this has nothing to do with religion, since  there are very  few  practitioners of Asian  faiths in Russia.  This subject will be dealt with  in the Culture section.   Note:  There have  been many missionaries from many faiths in  Russia since 1991, but they have all failed.