"The Sacred War" (Russian: Священная война Svyashchennaya Voyna, also known as Вставай, страна огромная! Vstavay, strana ogromnaya, "Arise, Great (Vast) Country!") was one of the most famous Soviet songs of the Second World War. The music is by Aleksandr Aleksandrov, founder of the Alexandrov Ensemble and the music composer for the National Anthem of the Soviet Union. The lyrics are by Vasily Lebedev-Kumach.[1]

The circumstances of the composition and first performance of the song were hurried; the lyrics were published on 24 June 1941, and Aleksandrov immediately wrote the music for them, writing the notes out on a blackboard for the singers to copy manually. The first performance was on 26 June at Belorussky Rail Terminal, where according to eyewitnesses it was sung five times in succession.[2]

There are a number of foreign-language adaptations of this song, among them the German version Der Heilige Krieg (written by Stephan Hermlin), the Korean 정의의 싸움에 (Jeong-ui-ui Ssaum-e) and the Hungarian version Fel, küzdelemre, hős haza.

In the 1990s Russian media published the allegation that the lyrics had been plagiarized by Lebedev-Kumach, and that they were indeed written during the First World War by Aleksandr Bode (Russian: Александр Адольфович Боде, 1865–1939). These claims were taken to court, and the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta in June 2000 was forced to publish a retraction of the claim.[3] Prof. Evgeniy Levashev (2000) still upheld doubts on the authorship, and on the reasonableness of the court's decision.[4]

The song has been used during the march of the color guard in Victory Day parades in both the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.


Original Russian lyrics
Вставай, страна огромная,
Вставай на смертный бой
С фашистской силой тёмною,
С проклятою ордой.

Припев: (2x)
Пусть ярость благородная
Вскипает, как волна!
Идёт война народная,
Священная война!

Дадим отпор душителям
Всех пламенных идей,
Насильникам, грабителям,
Мучителям людей!


Не смеют крылья чёрные
Над Родиной летать,
Поля её просторные
Не смеет враг топтать!


Гнилой фашистской нечисти
Загоним пулю в лоб,
Отребью человечества
Сколотим крепкий гроб!

Припев (2x)

Vstavay, strana ogromnaya
Vstavay na smertnyy boy!
S fashistskoy siloy tyomnoyu,
S proklyatoyu ordoy.

Pripev: (2x)
Pust’ yarost’ blagorodnaya
Vskipayet, kak volna!
Idyot voyna narodnaya,
Svyaschennaya voyna!

Dadim otpor dushitelyam
Vsekh plamennykh idey,
Nasil’nikam, grabitelyam,
Muchitelyam lyudey.


Ne smeyut kryl’ya chornyye
Nad Rodinoy letat’,
Polya yeyo prostornyye
Ne smeyet vrag toptat’.


Gniloy fashistskoy nechisti
Zagonim pulyu v lob,
Otreb’yu chelovechestva
Skolotim krepkiy grob!

Pripev (2x)

Literal translation
Arise, vast country,
Arise for a fight to the death
Against the dark fascist force,
Against the cursed horde.

Chorus: (2x)
Let noble wrath
Boil over like a wave!
This is the people's war,
a Sacred war!

We shall repulse the oppressors
Of all ardent ideas.
The rapists and the plunderers,
The torturers of people.


The black wings shall not dare
Fly over the Motherland,
On her spacious fields
The enemy shall not dare tread!


We shall drive a bullet into the forehead
Of the rotten fascist filth,
For the scum of humanity
We shall build a solid coffin!

Chorus (2x)

Poetic adaptation
Arise, you mighty motherland
Arise for Sacred War
To crush the evil fascist hordes
Unite and drive them back!

Chorus (2x)
And noble anger leads us
To victory against the fascist scum
Arise, our mighty land
Arise for Sacred War!

Let's crush the mad oppressors
And save our mighty land
From rapists, thieves, and plunderers,
These slaughterers of men!


The black fascist wings of death
Shadowed our sacred land
But her spacious fields and streams
They never shall defile


Behold, fascist insanity
You now face your doom
The plague of humanity
Shall be driven to its tomb!

Chorus (2x)


  1. ^ David R. Marples (2014). Russia in the Twentieth Century: The quest for stability. Routledge. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-317-86228-4.
  2. ^ В. Олару. Стихотворение в газете Независимая Молдова, 21 июня 2001 ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link))
  3. ^ Опровержение Независимая газета, 5 июля 2000; A. Barinov, Бард сталинской эпохи. 105 лет со дня рождения Василия Лебедева-Кумача, «АиФ Долгожитель» № 15 (27), 8 August 2003.
  4. ^ Е. М. Левашев. Судьба песни // Архив наследия — 2000 / Сост. и науч. ред. Плужников В. И.; РАН. Российский Научно-исследовательский институт культурного и природного наследия им. Д. С. Лихачёва. — М.: Институт Наследия, 2001, 305–330. (online version).


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