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Russia’s national anthem could become required listening in schools

Russian lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require schools to play the Russian national anthem at the beginning of every week.

The legislation’s memorandum states that the majority of Russian schoolchildren don’t know the lyrics of the national anthem, which hinders the development of “their patriotic consciousness and their readiness to perform their civic duty and constitutional obligations to defend the interests of their homeland.”

Schoolchildren perform the Russian national anthem in Khilidi, Chechnya.
Chech Folk

Making the national anthem obligatory listening at the beginning of the school week, the legislation's authors say, will improve “patriotic education, active citizenship, and respect for the state symbols of the Russian Federation.”

Current Russian law requires schools to play the national anthem only on the first day of classes at the beginning of the school year.

Some regions in Russia require schools to play the national anthem more often than once a year. In Kostroma and elsewhere, the anthem is played daily; in Chechnya, it’s played one a month; and in Ingushetia, students listen once a week.

American schoolchildren will likely find Russia’s anthem proposal to be familiar. In the United States, all states except four (Hawaii, Iowa, Vermont, and Wyoming) give time for the “Pledge of Allegiance” to be recited as part of the school day. US officials abandoned an early version of the salute that accompanies this pledge (with hand outstretched toward the flag, palm down, and ended with the palm up) after it was popularized by the Nazis.

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