"Solemn song"

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            This short story is two stories from different years.       

       At a two-month training camp, where we, freshly recruited biennials, were sent to unlearn civic behavior, once a general entered the class where we were studying. A marching step. With a gesture of hands. Powerfully shifting the opposing atmosphere in front of him. Probably so Guderian penned in 41st.

         The first unfortunate man who fell under his hand was given a biting battle order: "Oath!" The officer repented and began: "I, a citizen of the Soviet Union, joining the ranks ..." The general, moving further through the class, gave the following order: "Anthem!" Andryukha Somov, who was always sharpened for laughing merrily, came under his arm. He put his hand to his heart, straightened up beyond measure and tightened: "Soyu-u-uz indestructible repu-u-blink of the free ...". The general began

This is a photo from those very educational times ...

make a tank turn in the narrow aisle between the tables and, turning to us with a red face, wider than the newspaper, picked up the solemn song: "Great Russia united forever ..." So 2 verses were performed. Andryukha, unfortunately, began to stammer, remembering important words. The general, considering it sacral and inconceivable to stop the sacred liturgy, alone, continued to sing, which made the song sound like a heavy metal hit, hoarsely and categorically. We all stayed  in mute and ecstatic horror of what is happening. After humming, the general fell silent. But not for long. After that, a story was told about how he was in one greatcoat, with three matches, in a forty-degree frost, in the forest, and it was far from ours, and still a dream-GAM !!! Here you are, Lieutenant, what are you going to do? Without listening to him, the general continued on and more and more terribly ...

     When the high audience ended, I asked Colonel Sobol (our mentor all these two months, a wonderful, intelligent and kindest person with the appearance of Stirlitz): "Comrade Colonel, are all generals ... like that?" After a little thought, he said slowly: "Yes."

         After several months of service, I found myself in one such place, where, slowly turning 360 degrees, I counted 27 generals by stripes. I recalled the colonel's words and imagined ... It became very scary and very funny.

        Well, here's another story about the anthem.

         It was in the evening in the institute hostel. In Belyaevo. Serezha Bykov, my sidekick, and I, drank tea (though tea) and chatted about this and that, important and not so important. Then our Cuban friend Angel Raul De La Cruz RiverI came to visit us.

         He was an extremely cheerful person, an amazing basketball player, dark-skinned, curly, well, in general, everything is as it should be. In winter, Angel lightened his skin, but in summer he sunbathed heavily.  And the darker-skinned students who lived in the hostel, Angel called "purple".

       So that quiet evening, the tea together turned into tea for the three. And the tea was hot and tasty, and in combination with "Homemade Cheese"  gave the Cuban true exotic and unprecedented deliciousness. After all, they drink cold tea there ...  Our unhurried chatter was unexpectedly interrupted by a 5-ruble radio box, which was in every room and always quietly sounded something, not being noticed or turned off.

        The sounds of the anthem were heard from the "radio producer". That meant today turned into tomorrow, which struck 12 at night.  Next went our ingenious impromptu with Serega. Interrupting the conversation in mid-sentence, we, without saying a word, got up, made the radio louder, and without looking at anyone with concentration, began to silently listen to all 159 verses of the solemn song.

      Angel, looking at us, also put down his tea, got up and listened to the hymn in silence. He glanced at us, he was apparently bursting with a desire to somehow play around with this situation, but seeing our adult seriousness, he restrained himself.

       Finally, the hymn ended. It became quiet. We sat down and, as if nothing had happened, continued our conversation. After a while, Angel timidly asked what the hell it was. And we patiently explained to the fool that twice a day, at 6 in the morning and at 12 at night, all the Soviet people listen to the anthem of our Motherland, which is broadcast on the radio. And wherever and in whatever condition you are, you, as a normal person and citizen, must interrupt all your affairs and listen to the anthem standing up. You can sing along quietly. Angel listened carefully ...

         A couple of weeks later, rumors spread that an international conflict was breaking out in our hostel.

        And this is what happened. Our friend, comrade and brother Angel Raul De La Cruz Riveri (what a sonorous name!) Lived in the same room with a Nigerian Keks (that was actually his name). And he prayed to all the gods and the foreign dean's office to be moved to another room. It turned out that every morning at 6 o'clock, Angel turned on the radio at full power, woke Keks and made him stand to listen to the anthem of the Great Country, which taught them, gave them shelter and a scholarship.  AND  that you and I, Keks, are not some savages from the beach, but must respect the laws and customs of the Soviet country.

         I very much remember Sergei, Angel and those times with a smile and warmth ...

2017