The centre of the Christian world didn't start in Western Europe. The first state to declare Christianity as its religion was Armenia. Its neighbour Azerbaijan, which became Christian in the 4th century, was the first democratic state in the Muslim Orient in 1918. Two years later it became part of the Soviet Union. Today, although the majority of the population are of a Shiite Muslim background, the country is one of the most irreligious in the Muslim world. According to the Pew Research Centre, more than 53% claim religion has little to no importance in their lives. Many nation states were set up creating groups of people who were similar. 92% speak Azerbaijani as a mother tongue. 98% are Muslim. A 2008 Gallup poll had 21% saying religion was an important part of their lives. Russian and English play large rolls for education and communication.