Vast Is My Motherland

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The song Широка страна моя родная [Shiroka strana moya rodnaya] or Vast Is My Motherland is a typical, and perhaps the most famous example of how all forms of art and entertainment were used for propaganda purposes in the Soviet Union.

The song was composed by Basil Ivanovich Lebedev-Kumach (1898-1949) and Isaac Osipovich Dunaevsky (1900-1955) for the film Цирк [Tsirk] or The Circus, made by director Grigory Vasilyevich Aleksandrov (1903-1983), and became extremely popular. In 1939, the first chords of the chorus were used as the opening tune for Radio 1.

Just after the outbreak of World War II, the British BBC television brought the song in the news. When the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) wanted to give a speech to show his support for the Soviet Union in the fight against Nazi Germany, the station refused to broadcast the Soviet anthem. At that time it was The Internationale, the world famous anthem of the communists. Instead, the BBC used the song Vast Is My Motherland.

In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vast Is My Motherland has actually been suggested as a possible anthem for the new Russian Federation. However, Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin (1931-2007) preferred The Patriot Song from 1837 by composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857). In the year 2000, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (°1952) replaced The Patriot Song again by the old Hymn of the Soviet Union, with a new text though, and renamed as Hymn of the Russian Federation.

The chorus

Oh my spacious and beautiful Motherland!
Full of rivers, forests and vast fields
There's no other country that I know of
In which mankind breathes so free!
There's no other country that I know of
In which mankind breathes so free!


Vast Is My Motherland- Ivan Petrov

Hymn of the Russian Federation - Felix Korobov

The Patriot Song - Mikhail Glinka

The Internationale - G. Rozhdestvensky


Watch the song in the film

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