Hands Across the Unbreakable Union


Today's dose of YouTube surrealism: The Soviet national anthem is transformed into a five-minute slice of '80s pop-rock. The video that runs with it is the Soviet "Morning in America" commercial, the Soviet "God Bless the U.S.A.," the Soviet "Hands Across America," perhaps even the Soviet "Hands Across Your Face," all rolled up in a Bizarro-world version of the Reagan era. I would credit this clip with the collapse of communism, except that this site claims it was recorded right after the USSR fell, which if true would make the performance an exercise in irony, early nostalgia, or 80-proof Russian absurdism. Maybe all three.

Still more versions of the anthem here. More on the Soviet pop machine here. And here's a story about Vladimir Putin's attempts to cast himself as the Russian FDR. Given Roosevelt's rotten record on civil liberties, the comparison might be more apt than he thinks.

[Hat tip: Bryan Alexander.]

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  1. Soviet Sebastian Bach!
    All-Union Sammy Hagar!
    Comrade Freddy Mercury!
    People’s Culture Club!
    Soviet Duran Soviet Duran!
    Oates! (Just Oates)

  2. I think there’s a Soviet Bon Jovi in there too, and maybe a Soviet Madness.

  3. You have to admit, as national anthems go it’s pretty stirring.

  4. The more stirring the national anthem the worse the government. This is based on the sample of the Soviet National Anthem and the Deutschlandlied (Deutschland Ueber Alles).

  5. FingFangFoom,

    Oddly, Deutschlandlied is also the true french national anthem!

  6. If you mocked my anthem to my face, I’d fix your teeth for you in short order, you fascist dog.

  7. Sounds more Doobie Brothers-ish, which would make this Soviet Yacht Rock.

  8. I can’t watch the video, but… in the late 80ties we sung Soviet anthem lyrics to the tune of Sanhedrin theme from Jesus Christ Superstar (This Jesus Must Die):

    What then to do about Jesus of Nazareth?
    ???? ????????? ????????? ?????????

    Miracle wonderman, hero of fools.
    ???????? ?????? ??????? ????

    No riots, no army, no fighting, no slogans.
    ?? ??????????? ????????? ????? ????????

    One thing I’ll say for him — Jesus is cool.
    ?????? ??????? ????????? ????

    Same thing, no?

    And, Igor, how’s Dr. Frankenstein?

  9. In Soviet Russia, anthem subtitles you!

  10. Wow. Never saw that. That’s excellent.

    Back in ’85, the Russian new-wave band Center recorded a whole album of covers of ’60s and ’70s Soviet pop songs that you can listen to here.

    By the time the USSR fell apart, leader Vasily Shumov had emigrated. Nowadays, unfortunately, he’s a somewhat stiffer multimedia artist out of LA. My favorite samizdat album of theirs is ’84’s “Tiaga v Tekhnike”, here, possibly the only Russian music of the time that reminds me of the Feelies.

  11. “The more stirring the national anthem the worse the government.” – sorry, the Soviet anthem is more the exception. The Deutschlandlied has been the anthem for German democracy for 60 years now, and on the whole West German government has been pretty good since 1945. The East German anthem on the other hand was crap. The French anthem is probably the most stirring and France, while people like to take deserved potshots at it, still has a better government than most of the countries of this benighted planet. I also a fan “God Save the Queen” pretty stirring, although “Rule Britannia” is actually better. Most modern totalitarian states – China, Burma, North Korea, Turkmenistan etc. have pretty turgid uninspired anthems. I guess there was a time in the 1920s/30s when fascistic totalitarian governments could get inspired artists and musicians to do good work for them, but those days seem to have passed.

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