Putin "Honouri" the New Martyrs of Russia by playing the favourite tune of their murderers
> Tuesday, December 5, 2000
> President Makes His Case for Song, Flag
> By Jim Heintz
> THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
> President Vladimir Putin wants Russia to go back to
> the past symbolically, proposing on Monday that the
> country adopt the Soviet-era anthem and tsarist-era
> coat of arms.
> Following a meeting with leaders of the parliamentary
> political factions, Putin said he was sending
> legislation to the State Duma calling for adoption of
> the double-headed eagle coat of arms and the familiar
> white-blue-and-red flag. He also proposed making the
> Soviet red flag the official flag of the armed forces.
> Putin expressed support for adopting the melody of the
> Soviet-era anthem, a proposal that last week got
> initial approval in the Duma.
> Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia
> has used the tricolor as its flag and a melody by
> 19th-century composer Mikhail Glinka as its anthem,
> although words have never been written for the tune.
> But those symbols were established only by the decree
> of then-President Boris Yeltsin, and Putin, in a
> statement broadcast on ORT television, said symbols
> must be approved by law rather than a single person's
> He acknowledged the emotional resonance that the issue
> has, noting that many people want to abandon vestiges
> of the decades of communist repression while others
> resent the fall of communism.
> "We must not dramatize," Putin said, saying that both
> periods saw substantial accomplishments by Russians
> that deserve to be honored by adopting those periods'
> The Soviet-era symbols represent not only repression,
> he said, but scientific advances and the once-dominant
> space program. It was under the red flag that victory
> was won in World War II, he said.
> The tsarist-era symbols call to mind cultural titans
> such as Dostoyevsky and Pushkin, Putin said.
> "If we accept the fact that in no way could we use the
> symbols of the previous epochs including the Soviet
> one, then we must admit that our mothers and fathers
> lived useless and senseless lives, that they lived
> their lives in vain. I can't accept it either with my
> mind or my heart," Putin said.
> Glinka, who wrote the melody currently used as an
> anthem, is one of Russia's most lauded composers, but
> many have complained that the tune is too complex for
> hard to remember and harder to sing.
> The Soviet anthem, written by Alexander Alexandrov, is
> stirring and easy to sing, its proponents say.
> Following the meeting, Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov,
> a Communist, said he hoped the new anthem would be
> official by New Year's Eve. That would have strong
> symbolism in itself, because Russians widely regard
> 2001 as the beginning of the new millennium, rather
> than the Western preference for 2000.
> But even if the melody is official by then, singers
> will only be able to hum it because there are no new
> lyrics in view. Seleznyov suggested the lyrics could
> be determined by a national competition.
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