Religion has long played an important role in the culture and lives of the people of Russia. It has influenced government, created holidays and given people hope for better things during the most desperate times. Russia became a Christian country in 988 when Prince Vladimir of Kiev adopted the new religion. This laid the foundation for the Russian Orthodox Church which is still the religious denomination in the country. However things have not always gone well with religion in Russia. For as many as seventy years the official religion of the country was â€˜atheismâ€™. That was when Communism gripped the country and a new period of religious intolerance was begun.