Russian Duma Approves National Anthem Bill

- The Russian Duma passed a controversial constitutional bill on the national anthem on Friday, December 8, after a third, final reading, with 381 votes in favor, 51 against and one abstention, the Intefax News Agency reported.

The bill approves use of the music from the Soviet-era anthem composed by Alexander Alexandrov for the new Russian anthem.

The Duma also recommended that Russian president Vladimir Putin create a commission to study collected lyrics and submit them in a draft law to the Duma.

The right-wing group in the Duma disputed the legality of the approval, according to Interfax.

The national anthem bill was first read at the Duma several years ago but had been suspended from further approval due to strong opposition from former president Boris Yeltsin and right- wing parties, including the Yabloko faction and the Union of Right Forces.

The breakthrough emerged on Monday after the Russian State Council met with President Putin and some parliamentary deputies. The council decided to support Putin's proposal on using Alexandrov's music for Russia's anthem by a majority vote.

The Duma on Friday also adopted a package of bills on state and army symbols.

People's Daily Online ---