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National Anthem of Russian Federation: Lyrics, History and Interesting Facts

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What is the national anthem? It is a song that officially symbolizes a country or nation and tells about its past, people, and pride. Most of these national songs are marches with fanfare. You can hear them on a wide variety of occasions, and usually, you need to stick to a certain etiquette. The main national song usually has lyrics in the most commonly used language in the territory of the country.

In most cases, lyrics are very poetical and beautiful, so you can hardly decipher them if you don’t know the language well enough. The Russian anthem can be easily recognized by the strong and hard-to-forget music and its Russian lyrics. Many people, even not knowing the Russian language, think it sounds very powerful.

The Russian Flag

The lyrics for the National Anthem of Russia were written by Segey Mikhalkov

Let’s take a look at the lyrics of the modern Russian national anthem, look into difficult parts of vocabulary, learn how it was written, and when it can be heard in everyday life, interesting facts about the songs that acted as main national songs in today’s Russia and its past.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Russia’s Anthem Lyrics
  2. Russian Anthem Vocabulary and Phrases
  3. History of the Russian Anthem
  4. Occasions when you can listen to this song
  5. Interesting facts about Russian Anthem
  6. Conclusion

1. Russia’s Anthem Lyrics

Actually, most Russians can’t remember the whole lyrics, but about half of them can sing the first verse off the top of their head. What is the name of the Russian national anthem? Here it is:

Государственный гимн Российской ФедерацииGosudarstvennyy gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii“Russian Federation National Anthem” 

The Russian anthem lyrics are the following:

Verse 1

Россия – священная наша держава,

Россия – любимая наша страна.

Могучая воля, великая слава –

Твоё достоянье на все времена!
Rossiya – svyashchennaya nasha derzhava,

Rossiya – lyubimaya nasha strana.

Moguchaya volya, velikaya slava –

Tvoyo dostoyan’ye na vse vremena!
“Our Russia is our sacred state

Russia is our beloved country

Mighty will, great glory are

Your heirloom for all years to come!”

Chorus

Славься, Отечество наше свободное,

Братских народов союз вековой,

Предками данная мудрость народная!

Славься, страна! Мы гордимся тобой! 
Slav’sya, Otechestvo

Nashe svobodnoye, 

Bratskihk narodov soyuz vekovoy, 

Predkami dannaya mudrost’ narodnaya!

Slav’sya, strana! My gordimsya toboy!
“Glory to our free Homeland

Centuries-old union of sister nations

Peoples’ wisdom given by the ancestors

Be glorious, country! We’re proud of you!”

Verse 2

От южных морей до полярного края

Раскинулись наши леса и поля.

Одна ты на свете! Одна ты такая –

Хранимая Богом родная земля!
Ot yuzhnykh morey do polyarnogo kraya

Raskinulis’ nashi lesa i polya.

Odna ty na svete! Odna ty takaya –

Khranimaya Bogom rodnaya zemlya!
“From southern seas up to the polar land,

Our forests and fields have spread.

You are one in the world! You are one of a kind –

Protected by God darling land!”

Chorus

Славься, Отечество наше свободное,

Братских народов союз вековой,

Предками данная мудрость народная!

Славься, страна! Мы гордимся тобой! 
Slav’sya, Otechestvo

Nashe svobodnoye, 

Bratskihk narodov soyuz vekovoy, 

Predkami dannaya mudrost’ narodnaya!

Slav’sya, strana! My gordimsya toboy!
“Glory to our free Homeland

Centuries-old union of sister nations

Peoples’ wisdom given by the ancestors

Be glorious, country! We’re proud of you!”

Verse 3

Широкий простор для мечты и для жизни

Грядущие нам открывают года.

Нам силу даёт наша верность Отчизне.

Так было, так есть и так будет всегда!
Shirokiy prostor dlya mechty i dlya zhizni

Gryadushchiye nam otkryvayut goda.

Nam silu dayot nasha vernost’ Otchizne.

Tak bylo, tak yest’ i tak budet vsegda!
“A wide space for dreams and for living

The coming years open to us.

Our faithfulness to the Fatherland gives us power.

That was and that is and that will be forever!”

Here is a link to a video of people all over the country singing the anthem supporting the Olympic team.

Sheet Music

The national anthem represents the tradition, history, and beliefs of a nation and its people

2. Russian Anthem Vocabulary and Phrases

The first difficult word to translate in Verse 1 is:

Держава. Derzhava. – “State.” 

It can be translated as state, because «держава», firstly, means independent state and, secondly, globe or orb, a symbol of power.

Могучая воля. Moguchaya volya. – “Mighty will.” 

Достоянье. – Dostoyan’ye. – “Heirloom.” 

Отечество, Отчизна. Otechestvo, Otchizna. – “Homeland, Motherland, Fatherland.” 

The word «Отечество» is formed from old russian «отец» (farther) and actually «Отечество» can be Literally translated as Fatherland.

Грядущие года Gryadushchiye goda – “Coming years”. 

3. History of the Russian Anthem 

There are three components of political symbolism, and it is the anthem that was changed quite often in the past and does not have centuries of history. The idea of the necessity to have this song first appeared in the Russian Empire, and the song itself was changed during imperial history a few times.

In the period of the Soviet Union, the government evaluated numerous options, and, finally, in 1944, has chosen the Anthem of the Soviet Union. The music was created by A.V. Aleksandrov, Sergey Mikhalkov and G.L. Registan have written the words. In 1977 the original author of the words revised the anthem, replacing, for example, all references to Joseph Stalin, which were found in the original version.

The Flag of the Soviet Union

USSR was made up of 15 countries in Eastern Europe and Asia and lasted from 1922 until its fall in 1991

In 1991, the USSR ceased to exist, and the modern Russian Federation started to look for a new anthem. The new country started singing it in 2001. And before that, for 10 years, “The Patriotic song” was used as the anthem. It was composed by Mikhail Glinka in the 19th century. And during the 80s-90s, «perestroika», this music sounded in the intro of the Vremya news program. So, society knew this music, and it became the new anthem. But it was just music, there were no words in it, although the competition was announced for the best lyrics. Out of six thousand poems, the committee has chosen the twelve best options, but none was approved.

This wordless anthem was replaced later, in 2001. Sportsmen complained to the president that there was nothing to sing on the podium. The tribunes again sang together at sports competitions after the new anthem was introduced. It was not composed from scratch, but the government took the anthem of the Soviet Union as a basis. The music of Aleksandrov remained, but the lyrics were changed. The author of the new words was, again, Sergey Mikhalkov. He also wrote the text of the Soviet anthem under Stalin.

4. Occasions when you can listen to this song

At present, according to the Law on the anthem, it must be broadcast twice – at the beginning and at the end of TV broadcasting, or at 6 o’clock and at 24 o’clock if it broadcasts non-stop. It also can be turned on during sports competitions, military rituals, the opening of state monuments, the first lesson on the first day of the school year, and at “ceremonial events” held by non-governmental and government agencies and organizations. Also, Russians listen to the anthem on New Year night after the president’s speech, after the clock on the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower strikes twelve.

Sportsmen Listening to the National Anthems

National anthems play a big part in the Olympic Games. Starting with the 1924 Games, the winner’s national anthem for each event is played as their flag is hoisted in celebration.

5. Interesting facts about Russian Anthem

  • In 1816, the Russian Empire adopted the music of the English anthem “God Save the King” as its own, but lyrics were changed to Zhukovsky’s poem “Prayer of the Russians”.  
  • After the 1917’s February Revolution, the French Marseillaise became the anthem of Russia, the lyrics were, of course, in Russian. They were not translated from French, but were written by Russian philosopher Petr Lavrov.
  • In the 20th century, Russia had the largest number of main songs — there were six in a hundred years. Firstly, before the revolution, the Russians sang “God Save the Tsar.” Then there was the Marseillaise from France followed by The International song in October 1917. Then, in 1944 there was the Soviet anthem praising Stalin, followed by 77’s “non-Stalin” song, in the 90’s – Glinka’s “Patriotic Song”. And finally, it is 2001’s modern national anthem of Russia.
  • After the Revolution, The International, created by the French composer, became the new anthem of Russia. “The International” as a national song is a unique phenomenon. There is nothing national or Russian in the lyrics nor in music, there is not a single word associated with a specific country, let alone Russia.
  • On September 1, 2019, in St. Petersburg at the Gazprom Arena stadium, 8,097 musicians performed the Russian anthem at once and set a world record recorded by representatives of the Guinness Book of Records.

Gazprom Arena Stadium

Gazprom Arena serves as the home stadium for FC Zenit

  • Very often the modern Russian anthem is mixed up with Patriotic song” by Glinka. Many organizers of competitions of various levels around the world made this mistake. For example, at the awards ceremony, when the “wrong” version of the anthem suddenly sounded, the Russian biathlon team did not lose their heads and performed Sergey Mikhalkov’s verses without the right music.

6. Conclusion

Now, you have learned the essential information about the Russian anthem, understood its lyrics, and can sing it along at some official occasion or at a sports event. And, of course, not to mix it up with some other music or another country’s anthem.

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