After a heated debate that seemed to exemplify Russia’s post-Communist identity crisis, the Russian parliament last week refused to approve the national anthem, flag and emblem proposed by President Yeltsin. All the insignia proposed by Yeltsin — the white-blue-and-red striped flag, the two-headed eagle and the music by Mikhail Glinka — are already in use. But deputies said Glinka’s melody was gloomy by contrast with the more "uplifting" music of the old Soviet anthem. Communist, Agrarian, nationalist and Liberal-Democratic deputies favored a return to the music of the old Soviet anthem without the words, and to the red flag without the Soviet-era hammer and sickle. However, they were unable to muster the two-thirds majority (300 votes) required for approval of a constitutional bill. (RIA Novosti, January 23)
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