What better way to escape the international soccer brawl I seem to have started than by celebrating a song of international unity and peace. My love for the last two Soviet/Russian national anthems was reignited when I found these two pages (by Vadim Makarov) dedicated to the Soviet National Anthem and it's one-time anthem, The Internationale. The first link chronicles the history of the Russian / Soviet anthem from the days of Peter The Great on to the days of God Save The Czar, then on to The Internationale, and then "The Hymn" of the Soviet Union, the same beautiful melody that is currently used as Russia's national anthem.
I previously posted about The Hymn here, and I did a radio show on The Internationale a few years ago. On the two pages linked above, there are a few interesting videos as well, including The Pet Shop Boys cover of a Village People song, Go West [download video, 49 megs, mpg format]. The melody to Go West is almost note for note identical to The Hymn, and the video is also laden with nationalistic Soviet imagery, yet The Pet Shop Boys pleaded ignorance when they discovered the melodic and ideological similarities to The Hymn.
Stranger still is this music video by Igor Ugolnikov of The Hymn: download video, 57 megs, mpg format]. The video features many popular Russian singers from the period, and although it is billed as a "parody," it comes off as a heartfelt nugget of Soviet patriotism, produced as the Soviet Union was crumbling. It comes off almost as a Bolshevik version of the Up With People Orchestra, right down to the 70's era fashion and haircuts.
For MP3s of The Hymn, The Internationale and all of the offshoots, check the linked pages. There are too many versions to choose a favorite, but here are ten wide-ranging or memorable versions of The Internationale: