State Anthem of the Soviet Union

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Государственный гимн СССР
English: State Anthem of the USSR
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg

State anthem of Russian SFSR
Soviet Union

Lyrics Sergey Mikhalkov, 1943 and 1977
Music Alexander Alexandrov, 1938 (?)
Adopted 1 January 1944
1 September 1977 (modified version)
Relinquished 26 December 1991
(as anthem of the Soviet Union)
23 November 1990
(as anthem of the Russian SFSR)
Music sample

The "State Anthem of the USSR" (Russian: Государственный гимн СССР, Gosudarstvenny Gimn SSSR) was introduced during World War II on 15 March 1944, replacing The Internationale as the official anthem of the Soviet Union and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. The lyrics were written by Sergey Mikhalkov (1913–2009) in collaboration with Gabriel El-Registan (1899–1945) and the music was composed by Alexander Alexandrov (1883–1946).


Playing of the State Anthem at the 63rd Anniversary Jubilee of the Great October Socialist Revolution, 1980.
By the Red Army Ensemble

By the choir and orchestra of Bolshoi Theater

By the Soviet defense ministry's orchestra

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The Anthem of the Soviet Union was played for the first time on the Soviet radio at midnight on 1 January 1944.[1] The 1944 lyrics had three different refrains following three different stanzas; in each refrain, the second line was consequently modified with references to friendship, then happiness and finally to glory. Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union's war against Nazi Germany were originally invoked in the lyrics.

With the process of de-Stalinization inaugurated after Stalin's death, the lyrics which referred to Stalin were considered unacceptable and the anthem was performed without lyrics. In 1976 revised lyrics were created for the Canada Cup tournament at the request of singer Roger Doucet.[2][3] In 1977, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution, revised lyrics were adopted. The varying refrains were replaced by a uniform refrain following all stanzas; the line praising Stalin was dropped, as were the lines referring to the Great Patriotic War.

There is reason to believe that the music actually predates A. Alexandrov and the Soviet Union, and originates with Ukrainian composer Yury Piasetsky (Юрій Пясецький). Members of the Ukrainian Scout Movement "Plast" have noted that the tune is identical or near-identical to the Plast anthem "Plastovy Obit" (The Plast Oath), composed about 1912 by Piasetsky to words by Dr. Oleksander Tysovsky (Oлександр Тисовський), Plast's founder. The words and music are found in various handbooks and songbooks of Plast, and can be accessed on a 2012 video posted on YouTube. The first line reads: "V pozhezhakh vsesvitnykh, u lunakh kryvavykh". The original Piasetsky anthem actually glorifies the movement for Ukrainian independence, which the Plast organization supported.[original research?][4]

Use in the Russian Federation[edit]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation adopted a new wordless anthem called the "Patriotic Song", although there were suggestions for adopting lyrics. As a result, a few different versions were produced.[5] In 2000, the music of the Soviet national anthem was restored with Sergey Mikhalkov writing the new lyrics, becoming the "National Anthem of Russia".

State Union of Russia and Belarus[edit]

Also, the same music was used for a proposal of the anthem of the State Union of Russia and Belarus entitled Derzhavny Soyuz Narodov (Union of Sovereign Nations). Although never officially adopted, the lyrics of that piece were not tied to any specific nationality, and could be adopted for a broader union. However, there appears to be no plans to utilize that piece in any official role. The anthem also had official versions in the languages of every Soviet republic and in several other Soviet languages.


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