RETRACTED: Lawmakers reportedly plan to add Putin's name to Russia's national anthem
It turns out that this is an unfortunate April Fools prank by The Insider. Every year, Meduza managing editor Kevin Rothrock fails to understand Russians' passion for this holiday, undiminished even in a global crisis. His apologies to readers.
Members of Russia’s ruling political party, United Russia, have reportedly drafted legislation that would add Vladimir Putin’s name to the national anthem, two State Duma deputies familiar with the draft law told the website The Insider. The new anthem would be adopted in a federal constitutional law approved in the same nationwide plebiscite where Russians will vote later this year on a series of constitutional amendments, including revisions that will allow Vladimir Putin to remain in office until 2036.
The Insider says it’s not yet clear how a revised national anthem would mention Putin, though the website says the Kremlin has already won the support of the parliament’s two biggest nominal opposition parties: LDPR and the Communist Party.
Between 1943 and 1956, the Soviet national anthem contained the lyric: “We were raised by Stalin to be true to the people.” One Communist lawmaker reportedly told The Insider that the Kremlin previously refused to consider honoring Putin in Russia's anthem, but the current economic and epidemiological crisis has apparently convinced the presidential administration that new anthem lyrics would help “rally the people around the incumbent president.”
Vladislav Oparyshev (a political strategist The Insider describes as close to Putin’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergey Kiriyenko) told the website that new lyrics to the national anthem would be “focused on the younger generation.” “There are already voters now who were born under Putin who, as you see, clearly lack patriotism. But the next generation will understand that there’s no Russia without Putin,” Oparyshev told The Insider. Other political experts, meanwhile, told the website that the Kremlin is more concerned with rescuing the president’s falling popularity ratings.
The Insider says it’s unclear when the draft constitutional law will come to the State Duma’s floor, especially since Moscow’s coronavirus lockdown has disrupted the legislature’s work.