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Russian National Anthem

History of the Russian National Anthem

There was no anthem at all in Russia until the 18th century. Prior to that, people used religious songs in a similar role to the anthem.

During the reign of Peter the Great, solemn marches were ordered to raise the spirits of Russia's soldiers and its people. These solemn marches were inspirational for Russians in many successful battles.

In 1816, the first "official" anthem was named, and believe it or not, it was the English anthem, "God Save the King". Following this, the anthem was changed to "God Save the Tsar", which was composed by famous Russian poets and composers. This anthem was simple and beautiful, and very popular with the Russian people. It lasted until 1917 when the Great October Revolution changed the face of the Russian nation. During the Soviet reign, there were two main songs used as anthems - the French tunes "Marseleza", and "Internacionale".

Following the collapse of the Soviet empire, Russia needed a new anthem. Sergiy Mihalkov, a poet famous from Soviet times, was commissioned to write the new anthem.

The Russian anthem

Meaning of the Anthem

The first verse and chorus can be roughly translated to English as follows:

Russia is our sacred power state,
Russia is our favourite country,
Strong will, great victory -
your heritage for all centuries!

Be glorious, our free state,
Uniting all our peoples,
We received wisdom from our fore-fathers,
Be glorious, nation,
We are proud of you!

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