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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



international proletarian hymn, party hymn of the CPSU and other Communist parties. The text is by E. Pottier (1871, published 1887) and the music by P. Degeyter (1888). It was first performed on June 23, 1888, by the Lille workers’ choir of the Workers’ Lyre choral society at a festival of newspaper vendors and published in the same year in Lille as a separate leaflet in an edition of 6,000 copies (publisher M. Boldoduc). In the early 1890’s it began to spread rapidly among the working-class neighborhoods of northern France and Belgium; following the First Congress of the Second International in Paris it became known beyond the borders of these countries and began to be performed as the international hymn of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. In 1894 the French socialist A. Gosselin was sentenced to prison for the second edition of the music of the song. (The fifth stanza, which echoed the antimilitaristic campaign carried out by the First International, was seen as grounds for the repression.) The first translations of the text appeared in the 1890’s. The Great October Socialist Revolution laid the basis for its spreading throughout the world and the translation of its text into nearly all the world’s spoken languages. In a new choral edition, in which the melody had undergone a slight change in Russia during the first years of Soviet power, the piece experienced a second historical life.

Besides P. Degeyter, the French socialist and amateur composer P. Forest also put the French text of the Internationale to music in the 1890’s. His melody, although little known in France, enjoyed popularity from 1903 to 1906 among Czech workers.

The text of the refrain of the piece in Russian was published in the first number of Lenin’s Iskra (December 1900). The standard Russian text of the song was written in 1902 by A. Ia. Kots and printed (in incomplete form) in the London-Geneva journal Zhizn’(1902, no. 5). The Russian text (representing a translation of the first, second, and sixth stanzas), under the influence of Leninist ideas, acquired an original character that corresponded to the fighting tasks of a new stage in the Russian revolutionary movement. Apart from Bolshevik newspapers and journals and collections of revolutionary songs, the Internationale was quoted in more than half a million pre-revolutionary leaflets and proclamations. In V. I. Lenin’s article “Eugène Pottier” (Pravda, Jan. 3, 1913), the worldwide historical significance of the piece is described. Its author is called “one of the greatest propagandists of song” (Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 22, p. 274). Beginning with the Fourth Congress of the RSDLP in 1906, it became the generally accepted party hymn of revolutionary Russian social democracy. At the opening of the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets on Jan. 10 (23), 1918, it was performed as the State Anthem of the Republic.

In 1944, with the adoption of a new State Anthem of the Soviet Union, the plenum of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) resolved “to preserve the Internationale as the hymn of the ACP (Bolshevik)” (KPSS v rezoliutsiiakk 8th ed., vol. 6, 1971, p. 105).

On the basis of the Russian edition, the Internationale has been translated into all the languages of the peoples of the USSR and many languages of foreign nations. The music with Russian text was published for the first time in the Bulgarian collection Chervenu narodenu kalendar’ na 1905 g. (Sofia, 1904), and in Russia it was published for the first time in the clandestine hectographic publications of the RSDLP (Pesni and Sbornik revoliutsionnykh pesen, Moscow, 1905). In 1906 the first Russian arrangement of the song for voice and piano, written by D. A. Chernomordikov, appeared in his book Pervyi sbornik russkikh revoliutsionnykh pesen (St. Peterburg), and in 1907 an adaptation for choir and piano appeared in the collection Pesni bortsov (issue 1, St. Petersburg, author unknown).

Arrangements of the melody were made in the same years by Iu. D. Engel and V. N. Gartevel’d; in 1918, after the Great October Socialist Revolution, by A. D. Kastal’skii and D. S. Vasil’ev-Buglai; and in 1920, by V. I. Suk. In 1923 a single musical edition of the song was adopted that had been prepared by D. S. Vasil’ev-Buglai, A. F. Gedike, L. V. Shul’gin, and others. Various musical editions have been translated into the languages of the peoples of the USSR. In 1937, D. D. Shostakovich wrote an arrangement of the Internationale for symphonic orchestra.


Lenin, V. I. “Evgenii Pot’e.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 22, pp. 273–74.
Zevaès, A. “‘International’ i ego avtory.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 19.33, no. 2.
Pottier, E. International. Moscow, 1939.
Dreiden, Simon. “International.” In the collection Biografiipesen. Moscow, 1965, pp. 14–52.
Dreiden, Simon. Muzyka—revoliutsii. 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970. Pages 7206.
Gippius, E. V., and R. Ia. Zverev. “K istorii teksta gimna ‘International’ i ego perevodov.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, 1968, no. 3.
Gel, Fr. International a Marseillaisa. Duě vitezne pisně. Prague, 1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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