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Juggling with Symbols


In 1993 the Patriotic Song written by the Russian nineteenth-century composer Mikhail Glinka replaced the Soviet state anthem on Yeltsins decree. However, in 2000 the tune of the old Soviet state anthem (composed by A. V. Aleksandrov) was reinstated as Russias official anthem on the initiative of the new President Vladimir Putin.  


In the following year, the anthems new text, written by one of the surviving co-authors of the text of the Soviet anthem S. V. Mikhalkov, was approved by the parliament. The new words, designed to appeal to the patriotic feelings of Russians, are free from all traces of communist dogmas and even include a reference to God:   

From the southern seas to the polar region
Lie our forests and our fields.
You are one in the world! You are one of a kind,
Native land protected by God!

As a result, Russia now has a seemingly incompatible combination of state symbols: the classic fifteenth-century double-headed eagle of the Muscovite tsars, the eighteenth-century westernised imperial tricolor, and the Soviet anthem with new words. Yet, it is highly emblematic of the substantial re-evaluation of Russias past and present that has occurred in the minds of Russians over the recent period of turbulent changes.

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