Moscow – Sport’s top court on Monday said that Russia would not be able to play the patriotic folk song “Katyusha” at major international competitions while its national anthem is banned over doping violations.
Russia in December was excluded from the international stage for two years over state-backed doping at the country’s 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Its athletes are still allowed to compete under a neutral flag if they can prove no connection to doping.
Last month they proposed playing Katyusha, a song that gained widespread popularity during World War II, instead of Russia’s anthem at international competitions over the next two years.
On Monday, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected the proposal, citing its December decision that said “the Russian national anthem (or any anthem linked to Russia)” would be banned at official events.
“The CAS panel considers that ‘any anthem linked to Russia’ extends to any song associated or having links with Russia, which would include Katyusha,” a spokeswoman told AFP.
Composed in 1938, Katyusha is the hymn of commemorations of the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany in World War II, a revered national holiday in Russia and central to President Vladimir Putin’s projection of his country’s military might.
The song’s lyrics evoke the prayer of a young woman, Katyusha, who speaks from the edge of a river to her lover who has left to defend his “native land.”
The song, according to some accounts, inspired the name of the Soviet Union’s Katyusha rocket launchers.
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