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Russia's Old Anthem

October 01, 2000

In "Oh, Say Can't You See Why We're Losing Out on Medals?" (Sept. 22) Russian athletes lament that they haven't an anthem with words to sing at the Olympics. The present anthem, "Patriotic Song" by Mikhail Glinka, is "nearly tuneless and still completely wordless." The article goes on to suggest that this lackluster Glinka song was Russia's anthem before the revolution in 1917. The actual anthem was "God Save the Tsar," composed in 1833 by Alexi Feodorovich Lvov. It was one of the most beautiful national anthems of prewar Europe.

If Russians are in search of an anthem it shouldn't be a problem at all to find new words for this stately and very singable anthem. Russia already uses the white, blue and red flag adopted by Peter the Great and the double-headed eagle the czars took from Byzantium. To give new form to the old anthem would likewise show the continuity of Russia's historical symbols.

ALEXANDER KEKESI

Los Angeles

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