If a young person is a believer, can he practice his religion openly?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

There is nothing to stop him, since the Constitu­tion guarantees freedom of worship. No one and nothing can prevent a person practicing his religious faith, just as no one and nothing can compel a non­believer to pray to God. Any attempts to do either are punishable by law. No one is persecuted for his religious faith in the USSR, or for the lack of it. A person's attitude towards religion is not stated in any official documents. It brings no privileges and no restrictions. Since state bodies do not register a person's faith, there are no exact statistics on the numbers of believers in the country. Indications are, according to sociological surveys, that most believ­ers are senior citizens. If you look at the congre­gation in any of the 20,000 churches and prayer houses of the country, you will notice that the vast majority are old people. According to a sociological survey, in the Penza region (Central Russia) only 2-3 per cent of those under 20 are believers, and 7-8 per cent in the 20-30 age group.