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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

State Symbols

The Constitution specified the state flag and the arms of the Soviet Union. The flag had a red field, the traditional color of proletarian revolution. On the flag was a gold hammer and sickle, which represented the workers and the peasants, respectively, and the red star, which symbolized Soviet power, bordered in gold to contrast with the red field. The arms had a hammer and a sickle superimposed on a globe, with rays of the sun radiating from below, surrounded by sheaves of wheat. The rays of the sun represented the dawn of a new world, and the sheaves of wheat symbolized the economic plenty that was to be created in Soviet society. The inscription "Proletarians of all countries, unite!"--from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's The Communist Manifesto--was written on a red banner wound around the sheaves of wheat. The arms and flags of the republics carried the same visual themes, underscoring the unity of all the republics in the federation.

The Constitution specified that the state anthem be selected and confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. In 1989 the anthem was the Anthem of the Soviet Union, which had been composed under Stalin and contained fulsome praise of the dictator. After Stalin's death, the Presidium removed the offensive lyrics.

Data as of May 1989