National Anthem of Russia
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It is an adaptation of the national anthem of the Soviet Union of 1944, with music originally composed by Alexander Alexandrov. The lyrics were revised for the anthem of the Russian Federation by Sergey Mikhalkov, who had supplied lyrics for versions of the Soviet anthem in 1943 and 1977. The revision removes any mention of Lenin's ideas and the "unbreakable union" of the Soviet state, instead focusing on a country that is vast in area and rich in resources that will be entrusted to future generations.
The hymn was adopted in late 2000 by President Vladimir Putin and replaced the The Patriotic Song, which had been the official anthem from 1990. Before and after the adoption of the new anthem, liberal groups raised concerns that the re-adoption of the Soviet anthem was returning Russia to the Soviet era.
 Historic anthems
Before Molitva russkikh (The Prayer of the Russians) was chosen to be the national anthem of Imperial Russia, various church hymns and military marches were used to honor the country and the Tsar. Molitva russkikh was adopted around 1815, and used lyrics by Vasily Zhukovsky set to the music of the British anthem, "God Save the King".<ref name="hymnru"> Russian Anthems Museum. Retrieved Apr. 03, 2006.</ref>
In 1833, Zhukovsky was asked again to write lyrics to a musical composition by Alexei Fyodorovich Lvov called The Russian People's Prayer. It was well received by Nicholas I who chose the song, known more commonly as "God Save the Tsar", to be the next anthem. The song sounded very much like a religious hymn, and its musical style was similar to that of the other anthems used by European monarchs. "God Save the Tsar" was used until the February Revolution, when the Russian monarchy was overthrown.<ref name="ruinfo">RussiaInfo Guide to Russia - National Anthem. Retrieved Apr. 03, 2006.</ref> The tune is in several English-language hymnals with words beginning "God the Omnipotent! King who ordainest/Thunder thy clarion, lightning thy throne!" (or variants).
Upon the removal of the Tsar and his family in March 1917, the Worker’s Marseillaise, a modification of the French anthem La Marseillaise by Pyotr Lavrov, was used as an unofficial anthem by the provisional government. Written in 1875, its use as anthem was short-lived. After the provisional government had been overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the 1917 October Revolution, the anthem of international revolutionary socialism, L'Internationale (normally called in English "The Internationale"), was adopted as the new anthem. Eugène Pottier, another French national, wrote the lyrics to this song, and the music was furnished by Pierre Degeyter, a Belgian composer. Translated into Russian by Arkadiy Yakovlevich Kots in 1902, The Internationale was used as the anthem of Bolshevik Russia from 1918, and adopted by the newly-created Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922, to be used until 1944.<ref name="hymnru"/>
The music of the national anthem, created by Alexandrov, had been used in several hymns and compositions before its use in the Russian anthem. The first time the music was used was in the Hymn of the Bolshevik Party, created in 1938. When the Comintern was dissolved in 1943 it was felt that the Internationale, which was historically intimately associated with the Comintern, should be replaced as the National Anthem of the Soviet Union. Alexandrov's music was chosen for that purpose in 1944 by the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Before Alexandrov created the Bolshevik hymn, he first used pieces of the music in the song Zhit' stalo luchshe (Life has become better).
During the 2000 anthem debate, it was discussed in the newspaper Lenta.ru that the music Alexandrov created for the Soviet hymn was similar to Vasily Kalinnikov's 1892 overture Bylina.<ref>(Russian) "Гимн СССР написан в XIX веке Василием Калинниковым и Робертом Шуманом", Lenta.ru, 2000-12-08.</ref> The supporters of the Soviet anthem used this fact in the various debates that took place in the Duma about the anthem change.<ref>(Russian) Выступление Б. Грызлова при обсуждении законопроекта о государственной символике Российской Федерации</ref> There is no evidence that Alexandrov deliberately borrowed or used parts of Bylina in his composition.
In 1943, Mikhalkov and G. El-Registan completed the task of writing the lyrics, which were approved a year later by Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader. It was stated that Stalin himself edited parts of the lyrics before approving the anthem . Upon the death of Stalin in 1953, the lyrics composed by Mikhalkov and El-Registan were discarded during the process of destalinization by the government and continued to be used without any official lyrics. Mikhalkov wrote a set of new lyrics in 1970, but they were not submitted to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet until 27 May 1977. The new lyrics, which replaced any mentions of Stalin, were approved on 1 September and were made official with the printing of the new Soviet Constitution in October of 1977. These lyrics were used until 1991, when the Soviet Union separated into fifteen nation-states.<ref>National Symbols of Russia. Росмэн, 2003. ISBN 5-353-01286-0</ref>
From 1991 through 2000, people sent more than 6,000 proposed versions of lyrics to the committee on the national anthem. Although most of the entries used Glinka's music, some of them were set to Alexandrov's music and to other tunes. In 2000, the Kremlin and President Putin first decided that Alexandrov's music was to be preferred, then picked the lyrics written by Mikhalkov out of the contest entries, and worked closely with Mikhalkov rewriting parts of his lyrics until the final version was produced. Before the official adoption of the anthem, the Kremlin released a section of the anthem, which made a reference to the flag and arms:
- Its mighty wings spread above us
- The Russian eagle is hovering high
- The Fatherland’s tricolor symbol
- Is leading Russia’s peoples to victory<ref name="fotw">Flags of the World reporting about flag-related proposed lyrics</ref>
When the final changes to the lyrics were being made in December of 2000, the above section was not included. The new lyrics refer to the Russian homeland, spacious and grand, that is being entrusted to all generations by God. This is a complete change from the Soviet anthem lyrics, which speak highly of Lenin, communism, and pledge a "union of freeborn republics" will stand forever, united.
 Modern adoption
Before 2000, there were efforts to refine "The Patriotic Song", the Russian anthem adopted in 1991 by then President Boris Yeltsin after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The main problem with the anthem, composed by Mikhail Glinka, was that it did not have any lyrics. Various attempts were made to compose lyrics for the anthem, including the 1990 composition of Viktor Radugin's Be glorious, Russia (Славься, Россия! ("Slavsya, Rossiya!), but none were adopted by Yeltsin.
The anthem debate picked up momentum in October of 2000 when Yeltsin's successor Vladimir Putin commented that Russian athletes were silent when the Patriotic Song was played during the gold medal ceremonies at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games.<ref name="2000olympics">Christianity Today - Putin complains about the lack of lyrics to the anthem in October 2000</ref> CNN also reported that players of the football club Spartak Moscow complained that the wordless anthem "affected their morale and performance".<ref name="CNN">CNN Reporting the Duma's Adoption of Alexandrov's anthem in December of 2000</ref> Putin pressed for the former Soviet anthem to be selected as the new Russian anthem, but strongly suggested that new lyrics were to be written. The Duma voted 371-51-1 on 8 December 2000 to adopt the Soviet anthem and the new lyrics, written by Mikhalkov.<ref>People's Daily - Russian Duma Approves National Anthem Bill. Dec. 8, 2000. Retrieved Apr. 3, 2006.</ref> Being signed into law by President Putin on 20 December, the new anthem was first used officially on 30 December during a ceremony at the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow.<ref>President of Russia State Insignia - National Anthem. Retrieved Mar. 30, 2006.</ref>
Not everyone agreed with the adoption—Yeltsin said that Putin should not have changed the anthem merely to "follow blindly the mood of the people". The liberal political party Yabloko stated that the re-adoption of the Soviet anthem "deepened the schism in [Russian] society".<ref name="BBC">BBC Reporting the Duma's Adoption of Alexandrov's anthem in December of 2000</ref> The re-adoption of the Soviet anthem was supported by the Communist Party and by Putin himself. Those who opposed the Alexandrov music attempted to not only keep the Patriotic Song, but also to have the Duma vote on the Tsarist military march, Farewell of Slavianka. One of the most famous Russian dissident writers Vladimir Voinovich even wrote a parody of the anthem as a sort of his proposal for the new anthem, showing Voinovich's disagreement with frequent changing of the state symbols. <ref name="Vladimir Voinovich's official website">Vladimir Voinovich - The Hymn of Russian Federation (project)</ref> Sergei Yushenkov, a member of Duma, even suggested that this proposal should be considered and voted by the members of the Russian Parliament, but his proposal was refused.
While it is the choice of the performer to execute the anthem using only music, only words or a combination of both, it must be performed using the official lyrics and music provided by law. After the performance is recorded, it can be used for any purpose, such as a radio or television broadcast. The anthem can be played during solemn or celebratory occasions, but it is required to be played at the swearing-in of the President of Russia, opening and closing sessions of the Duma and the Federation Council, and official state ceremonies. The anthem is also played on television and radio before the start and closing of programming or if the programming is continuous, the anthem is played at 2400 and 0600 hours. The anthem is also played at sporting events both in Russia and abroad, but according to the protocol of the organization that is hosting the games. When the anthem is played, all men's and women's headgear must be removed and people must face the Russian flag, if it is present. Those who are in uniform must give a military salute when the anthem plays.
According to the Russian Law on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights, state symbols are not protected by copyright. Thus, the anthem music and lyrics can be used and modified freely. Although the Russian Anthem Law<ref name="law">(Russian) Law on the Russian anthem</ref> suggests accountability for performing the anthem in a way that could cause offense and disrespect, no provisions in the other laws have been made yet that would define such acts and set a penalty.
On one occasion, Putin chastised the national soccer team in the summer of 2004 about the team's behavior during the playing of the anthem. Before the start of tournament matches in the 2004 European Football Championship tournament, the team was caught on camera chewing gum during the playing of the Russian anthem. Putin, using Leonid Tyagachyov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee as his messenger, told the team to stop chewing gum and sing the anthem. This message was delivered after the Russian team lost to Spain during the tournament.<ref>The Moscow Times Putin Tells Soccer Team: Sing Russian Anthem, Don't Chew. July 29, 2004. Retrieved Mar. 30, 2006.</ref>
 Official lyrics
Россия — священная наша держава,
От южных морей до полярного края
Широкий простор для мечты и для жизни
Rossiya — svyashchennaya nasha derzhava,
Ot yuzhnykh morey do polyarnogo kraya
Shirokiy prostor dlya mechty i dlya zhizni.
Russia—our sacred state,
From the southern seas to the polar region
Wide spaces for dreams and for living
- 2001 recording by the Presidential Orchestra conducted by Pavel Ovsyannikov and Moscow Kremlin Choir directed by Gennady Dmitryak
- 2001 recording by the Presidential Orchestra conducted by Pavel Ovsyannikov
- Vocal recording of "Life Has Become Better," by the Red Army Chorus, conducted by Alexander Alexandrov
- Vocal recording of "Hymn of the Bolshevik Party," by the Red Army Chorus, conducted by Alexander Alexandrov
- Fragment starting 05:26 into the recording made by the USSR Symphony Orchestra conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov
 External links
- (Russian) Government of Russia's website on the national symbols
- President of Russia State Insignia - National Anthem, brief page in English
- Russian Anthems museum, an extensive collection of audio recordings including some 30 recordings of the current anthem and recordings of other works mentioned in this article
The Patriotic Song
|Anthem of the Russian Federation|
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