..not much, really. But they did have a grand national anthem. At once singable (unlike ours), and classical in a dark, brooding, Euro-cum-Slavic way. What brings this to mind is that I happened to hear the Red Army Men’s Chorus version, and it is truly, truly inspiring.
Until you get to the lyrics, of course. To their credit, the Russian Republic has retained the melody, but, let’s be gentle here, “updated” the lyrics. But the old lyrics were classical commie bunk. Here’s my favorite from the 1944 version (even this was too much for the latter-day-commies, and they softened it in 1977):
Through days dark and stormy where Great Lenin lead us
Our eyes saw the bright sun of freedom above
And Stalin our leader with faith in the people,
Inspired us to build up the land that we love.
Words matter; they have meaning. Two of the greatest mass-murders in history, deified.
The lessons? Two, actually. First and most important, we should never make the state our religion. This is idolatry. Second, listen to political anthems politically.
And take off that damned Che T-shirt…
[Note: a repost of mine from January 2007. Why? Just listened to the Russian anthem, again.]