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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Russia's politician crooners pay homage
Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov
The singing speaker: Sergei Mironov

A number of leading Russian officials have paid tribute to veterans of World War II by recording their own version of popular wartime songs.

One of them is Sergei Mironov, who is probably not planning to give up his day job as speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

But the man who is technically number three in the Russian government hierarchy has put in several hours in a studio recording a song telling a girl to stay loyal to her pilot sweetheart while he is away on combat missions.

Mr Mironov says the song - from the 1945 Soviet comedy The Sky Slow-Mover - was a tribute to his father, who fought on the frontline, according to a report on Russia's Ren TV.

"Let destiny throw us far away. Just don't you let anyone else into your heart. I shall keep an eye on you. Make no mistake: I can see it all from high above," he sings.

It is not every day a Federation Council speaker sings

Sergei Stepashin, one-time prime minister and now head of the Russian public spending watchdog, selected a sad ballad about young soldiers defending an unnamed hill.

"Only three of us survived out of 18 boys," he sings.

The pro-Moscow Prime Minister of Chechnya, Sergei Abramov, chose a song entitled: The last battle is the hardest".

Hard work

Mr Mironov says he has never had any formal vocal training, but used to enjoy spending evenings round a campfire, singing along to a guitar.

He says he found the studio recording session "back-breaking toil" requiring hours of practice.

The studio is normally busy, and professional performers were asked to make away to allow Mr Mironov to jump the queue.

Studio producer Dmitriy Muratovskiy said: "All we had to do is ask people nicely because people did appreciate that it is not every day that a Federation Council speaker sings."

Radio stations in 189 towns and cities across Russia and other former Soviet countries are playing the politicians' versions of the songs as part of a project initiated by a St Petersburg radio station, the TV station added.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Russia
28 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Russia
09 Mar 05 |  Country profiles



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