from Peter the Great to Putin

Writer G. A. El-Registan, laureate of the State Prize, People’s Artist of the USSR, Professor, Major General A. V. Aleksandrov and laureate of the State Prize, poet S. V. Mikhalkov. 1943 year

On May 27, 1977, the State Anthem of the USSR was approved, which existed until the collapse of the USSR.

Preobrazhensky march

The first songs and melodies that were identical to the national anthem appeared in the Russian state in the 18th century. Even during the reign of Tsar Peter the Great, the Preobrazhensky March was created (the March of the Life Guards of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, the March of the Transfiguration, the March of Peter the Great, the Petrovsky March). The march was created by an unknown composer. Perhaps the melody of the march was taken from the soldier’s song “The Turks and the Swedes know us.”

The “Petrovsky march”, besides the Preobrazhensky regiment, was also a march of other units. As a result, it became common for the entire army. The clarity and speed of the pace (120 steps per minute) made Peter’s march indispensable for military campaigns and parades. The Transfiguration March was also performed on the days of the anniversaries of victories in the Northern War over the Swedes, on the days of the tsar’s namesake, on the day of the coronation of Catherine the First. As a result, the Preobrazhensky march began to perform the functions of a secular anthem at parades, solemn exits of the imperial persons, at ambassadorial receptions, etc.

If under Peter the Great the Transfiguration March, like most others, was performed without words, then later words appeared. Thus, one of the most famous texts belonged to the poet Sergei Marina (1776-1813). He went the military way from the ensign of the Preobrazhensky regiment to the aide-de-camp of Tsar Alexander the First. Marin created a march with the words “Let’s go, brothers, abroad / Beat the enemy’s Fatherland” in 1805, when he took part in another war with the French. In memory of this campaign, there were two severe wounds and the first military award for Austerlitz – the golden sword “For Bravery”. At the beginning of the Patriotic War of 1812, the poet and warrior rushed into battle again and served at Bagration on the eve of the Battle of Borodino. After Borodin, Marin died of his wounds. In March 1814, the Russian army entered Paris singing his Transfiguration March.

By the end of the 19th century, the Transfiguration March, in fact, became the main march of the Russian Empire. All Russian emperors were the chiefs of the Preobrazhensky regiment, so the march was always performed on various solemn occasions. For example, at the unveiling of monuments to emperors, various military ceremonies throughout the 19th – early 20th centuries. The chimes of the Moscow Kremlin rang the melody of the march from 1856 to 1917 (at 12 and 6 o’clock). After the February Revolution, the Transfiguration March was performed instead of “God Save the Tsar!” The Bolsheviks adopted the International as their anthem; in the White Volunteer Army, the Transfiguration March remained the Russian anthem. It remained in the same form in the Russian White emigration.

History of Russian anthems: from Peter the Great to Putin

Russian officer and poet Sergei Marin. Portrait by Kiprensky

Thunder of victory, resound!

During the reign of Catherine II in 1791, the poet Gabriel Derzhavin (words) and composer Osip Kozlovsky (music) created a hymn with the words “Thunder of victory, sound! / Have fun, brave Ross! / Adorn yourself with sonorous glory. / You ruined Mohammed! ” The reason for its creation was the brilliant victories of Russian weapons in the war with Turkey. In particular, the storming of Izmail by the troops of Suvorov. Kozlovsky himself was a participant in the war with the Turks. The composition was very popular in society, it was used at almost every official ceremony in the capital and provincial cities. “Thunder of victory, ring out” during this period, in fact, became the unofficial anthem of Russia.

The first national anthem of the Russian state was born during the reign of Paul the First. The sovereign personally revised and established a system of military and state ceremonies, which had musical accompaniment. The spiritual hymn “If our Lord is glorious in Zion” became such a work. It was written in 1794 by the composer Dmitry Bortnyansky on the verses of Mikhail Kheraskov. The hymn, saturated with religious symbols, was widely used until the 1830s, before the approval of the work “God Save the Tsar!” From 1856 to 1917, the chimes of the Spasskaya Tower in the Moscow Kremlin rang out the melody “Kol is Glorious” along with the “Petrovsky March”. After the revolution, the anthem was actively used by the White Guards and the Russian emigration.

Sovereign Alexander the First introduced another change. During his reign in 1816, the Prayer of the Russians became the first official state anthem of the empire. The work was created on the basis of the English anthem “God Save the King!” (words and music by Henry Carey) by the poet Vasily Zhukovsky. Anthem “God Save the Tsar! / Glorious debts days ”, was performed at the meeting of the sovereign. The piece was the official anthem until 1833.

From “God save the King” to “International”

The birth of the second official anthem of Russia took place during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. In 1833, the Russian emperor visited the allied Austria and Prussia, and he was greeted with the sounds of the British march. The Emperor, who was a great patriot, greeted this without enthusiasm. By order of the tsar, composer Alexei Lvov wrote the music of the anthem to the words of Vasily Zhukovsky (the words were already different). The anthem was first performed at the Bolshoi Theater in December 1833: “God save the Tsar! / Strong, sovereign, / Reign for glory, for our glory! / Reign on fear of enemies, / Orthodox Tsar! / God Save the Tsar! ” On December 31, 1833, the national anthem was declared state and remained so until the 1917 revolution.

After the February Revolution of 1917, “God Save the Tsar!” canceled. Under the Provisional Government, they used both the old Preobrazhensky march and the more modern Marseillaise (“Let us renounce the old world, / Shake its dust off our feet!”). This work was to the liking of the Februaryists, as it emphasized their loyalty to the Entente, primarily to France. The final decision on the anthem of the new Russia was to be made by the Constituent Assembly.

When a new revolution took place in October 1917 and the Bolsheviks took power, in January 1918 they approved the Internationale as the state anthem of the RSFSR. With the formation of the Soviet Union, it remained an anthem until 1944. It was the international anthem of the proletarian workers, communists and socialists:

Get up, branded by the curse,
The whole world is hungry and slaves!
Our mind is boiling indignant
And ready to fight to the death.
We will destroy the whole world of violence
To the ground and then
We are ours, we will build a new world, –
Whoever was nothing will become everything.

The text was written in 1871 by a French poet, a member of the 1st International and the Paris Commune Eugene Potier. Music by Pierre Degeiter (1888). In 1910, at the Congress of the Socialist International in Copenhagen, the text was adopted as the anthem of the international socialist movement. The Internationale was translated into Russian in 1902 by the poet Arkady Kots. The work became the party anthem of the revolutionary movement and the social democrats of Russia. Three verses of the “Internationale” (verses 3 and 4 were not included in the anthem), translated by Kotz, with minor changes, made up the national anthem of the RSFSR and the USSR.

From Stalin to Putin

The anthem of the USSR was first performed on January 1, 1944. “The unbreakable union of free republics / Great Russia united forever. / Long live created by the will of the peoples / United, mighty Soviet Union! ” (Music by Alexander Alexandrov, lyrics by Sergei Mikhalkov and El-Registan.) The Internationale remained the anthem of the Communist Party. In 1956-1977. the anthem was sung without words, so as not to mention Stalin’s name (“We were raised by Stalin – to be loyal to the people”).

Under Khrushchev, they planned to change the anthem, but they never edited it. Only on May 27, 1977, a new edition was adopted. The text was again created by Mikhalkov. It excludes references to Joseph Stalin, happiness, glory (of the peoples), victories (“from victory to victory”), the army, and adds words about the party and communism. In fact, the anthem reflected the victory of the revisionists, hidden Trotskyists, which ultimately led to the catastrophe of Soviet civilization. The bureaucracy and the nomenklatura temporarily crushed the people’s (Soviet) project for the development of the USSR-Russia, and refused to break through to a “bright future” for everyone. This caused the degeneration of the Soviet elite into a closed caste, which eventually wanted a “bright future” (property and power) only for themselves and their families, clans, and killed the USSR and the Soviet project.

In June 1990, the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the RSFSR was adopted. In November 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR decided to create the state emblem, state flag and anthem of the RSFSR. The “Patriotic Song” by Mikhail Glinka was adopted as the anthem. The work was written in 1833. The melody was found in the composer’s archive only in 1895, and for the first time it sounded in 1944. Since December 1991, when the USSR collapsed, “Patriotic Song” has become the anthem of the new Russia. In 1993, the status of the work was confirmed by the decree of President Boris Yeltsin. The hymn was sung without words, there was no generally accepted text. The commission received thousands of texts. The best was considered the text of V. Radugin “Glory, Russia!” However, it never became official.

At the end of 2000, the Russian national anthem was changed again. The Federal Constitutional Law “On the State Anthem of the Russian Federation” of December 25, 2000 approved the music of A. V. Aleksandrov (the anthem of the USSR) as the melody of the anthem. On December 30, 2000, President V. Putin approved the text of Sergei Mikhalkov: “Russia is our sacred state, / Russia is our beloved country.” On the night of January 1, 2001, Aleksandrov’s melody sounded in Russia again, and the author of the text was Mikhalkov (the creator of the text of the Soviet anthem). Thus, Russia was established as the legal successor of the Soviet Union.

Appendix 1. Transfiguration March (text: S. Marin)

Let’s go, brothers, abroad
To beat the enemies of the Fatherland.
Let’s remember the mother queen,
Let us remember what her age is!

The glorious age of Catherine
Every step will remind us
Those fields, forests, valleys,
Where the enemy fled from the Russians.

Here is Suvorov where he fought!
There Rumyantsev smashed!
Every warrior was different
I found the path to glory.

Every warrior is a heroic spirit
Among these places he proved
And how glorious are our troops –
The whole world knew about it.

Between glorious places
Let’s rush into battle together!
With horse tails
The Frenchman will run home.

We follow the French road
And we will know to Paris.
Let’s set him an alarm
As the capital we will take.

There we will be rich
Smashing the hero to the dust.
And then let’s have some fun
For the people and for the king.

Appendix 2. Anthem of the USSR 1944

The unbreakable union of the free republics
Great Russia united forever.
Long live created by the will of the peoples
United, mighty Soviet Union!

Hail, our free Fatherland,
Friendship of peoples is a reliable stronghold!
Soviet banner, national banner
Let it lead from victory to victory!

Through the thunderstorms the sun of freedom shone for us,
And the great Lenin illuminated our path;
We were raised by Stalin – to be loyal to the people,
He inspired us to work and deeds!

Hail, our free Fatherland,
The happiness of peoples is a reliable stronghold!
Soviet banner, national banner
Let it lead from victory to victory!

We raised our army in battles.
We’ll sweep the dastardly invaders off the road!
In battles we decide the fate of generations,
We will lead our Fatherland to glory!

Hail, our free Fatherland,
The glory of the peoples is a reliable stronghold!
Soviet banner, national banner
Let it lead from victory to victory!

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