When the Soviet Union crumbled, America lost a predictable, lumbering arch-enemy, and the world temporarily lost the greatest national anthem it's ever known. Forget your Star Spangled Banners, forget La Marseillaise - forget even Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. The Hymn of The Soviet Union may have a boring title, but it's got bombast, majesty and melody to beat the band. You know it's good, because prior to adopting The Hymn, the Soviet national anthem was none other than The Internationale, an even more magnificent anthem. The Internationale was scrapped in 1943 for the sake of the long-suffering World War Two Soviet soldiers, who were thought to be more inspired by an anthem dedicated to their motherland, than by a song about the international labor movement. In 1943, the lyrics to The Hymn hailed Stalin, but once de-Stalinization kicked in following his death in 1953, the lyrics were changed to honor Lenin instead.
Following the collapse of The Soviet Union in 1991, The Hymn was scrapped altogether for something called The Patriotic Song. Fortunately, The Hymn was restored as the Russian National Anthem in 2001, cleansed of all communist references altogether.
Here is a video of The Hymn in all of it's bombastic Bolshevik glory, circa the Lenin-lyrics era (download video, 11 meg, Windows Media video file). You can also stream this via youtube here. And if you're still itching for USSR nostalgia, check out this gallery of photos from Alexander Borodulin.