This article from National Geographic is literally the most fascinating article I have ever read on the Russian Orthodox Church pre- and post Soviet Union. The article chronicles an introspective man’s journey and observations about the battle that the church has faced in the past 80 years. It goes on to tell of some of the victories that the Orthodox church has experienced, as well as short comings and failures.
This article slightly touches on the friction between western denominations, or “sects,” and the people of Russia, as well as the perceived desire for the Orthodox church to become the state church.
I recommend that you check it out. click the title below.
Soul of Russia By Serge Schmemann
"The Soviet regime was the product of faithlessness, but at least it allowed real believers to live the flame of faith," he says. "Today we are more concerned with fighting sects and 'enemies' than with repentance. These forces are tearing the church from within."
According to Nikolai Mitrokhin, a historian and critic of the church, about 60 percent of Russians today identify themselves as Orthodox—they may be baptized, married, and buried in the church—but less than one percent actually enter a church at least once a month. Other sources put the figure closer to 10 percent. One reason for the sparse attendance may be that the Orthodox Church is not entirely friendly to people who are casual or clueless about its hallowed traditions."