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Press conference of the First Deputy Heads of Yabloko and the SPS factions Sergei Ivanenko and Viktor Pokhmelkin.

The State Duma, November 22, 2000.


Виктор Похмелкин и Сергей Иваненко на пресс-конфереции в Госдуме. 22 ноября 2000 г.
Photo: Viktor Pokhmelkin and Sergei Ivanenko at a press conference in the State Duma. November 22, 2000.

Sergei Ivanenko: Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, we are holding a joint press conference of Yabloko and the Union of Right-Wing Forces to consider the problem of the state symbols of Russia. Today the State Council will meet to consider this issue as well.

Yesterday the Coordination Council of our two factions adopted a decision that we would like to inform you about.

The Yabloko and the SPS factions of the State Duma will not support the draft law to restore the music by Alexandrov as the new Hymn for the Russian Federation, regardless of the words and texts proposed for this music.

We think that this initiative may be placed on the same rank as such odious ideas as restoration of restoring post No 1 by Lenin’s Mausoleum (Ed. changing of the guards by the Mausoleum)and the monument to Dzerzhinsky (Ed. the first Chief of the KGB) at Lubyanka Square in Moscow.

We consider such attempts as a test before the restoration of the elements of a totalitarian system that are far from symbolic.

We pay tribute to the symbols of the past era, but cannot forget that “Stalin’s” hymn is closely connected to bloody crimes against the nation.

We think that the hymn of Russia cannot be imposed onto society from the

top, by decision of the State Council or the State Duma. It should consolidate Russian society, rather than split it into opposing groups. Therefore the Yabloko and Union of Right-Wing Forces factions will jointly vote against the draft law to restore the music of Alexandrov as the state hymn of the Russian Federation.

We hope that our appeal, as well as the appeal of the broad layers of society, will be heard by the authorities.

Viktor Pokhmelkin: Dear ladies and gentlemen, I would like to add a few words.

Unfortunately, all other deputy associations in the State Duma, other than Yabloko and the SPS, have supported unanimously approval of the music by

Alexandrov as the proposed new hymn of the Russian Federation. The representatives of these deputy associations have already made this announcement at the meetings of their factions. We believe that this is disturbing and dangerous trend, as the adoption of this hymn will inevitably lead to a split in society. This decision will provoke a protest by a large part of the Russian people. Today, as you know, many famous cultural figures, representatives of the intelligentsia and victims of Stalin’s crimes, for whom the hymn of the Soviet Union is inevitably connected with the totalitarian regime send their appeals to the President.

For our factions this is a principled position. Today’s press conference

virtually marks the beginning of a political parliamentary fight with the Duma majority, who are trying to impose this hymn onto our country.

At the same time, society has not yet developed a clear understanding of this problem and the attitude of the President of the Russian Federation to this issue. We cannot say that President Putin has made some choice, that the Presidential Administration has clearly formulated its position. The task of the Administration now is to find a maximum consensus in the State Duma and in society. Form this point of view, it seems to me that any rush to adopt a decision on the hymn would constitute a big mistake, even if it receives 300 votes in the Duma and three-quarters of the required votes in the Federation Council. In this sense we will continue our task with the Administration to avert what is in our opinion a serious political error.

See also:

Yabloko and the SPS oppose restoration of the symbols of the Soviet Union

Yabloko proposes the march “Farewell of a Slavic woman” as a new hymn of Russia

Yabloko and the SPS will not support the Alexandrov hymn for Russia

The State Duma, November 22, 2000.