10 facts about the Kremlin Clock, Russia’s New Year symbol

((first part was published in #82)
In 1938, the clock chimes fell silent. Instead it only struck each hour and a quarter-hour. During a renovation in 1974, the mechanism was fully dismantled and repaired, but a special commission concluded that it was not appropriate for the Spasskaya Tower bells to play the anthem of the Soviet Union. The silence was broken only in 1996, during the second inauguration of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The chimes played Glinka’s “Patriotic Song,” which was then the Russian anthem. Since 1999, the chimes play two melodies: the Russian anthem and the “Slavsya” Chorus from the end of Glinka’s opera “A Life for the Tsar.”

10. The New Year starts with the peal of the Kremlin clock chimes.

The peal of the Kremlin chimes on New Year was first heard on the radio in 1923. Later, they were shown on TV, and millions of Russians still watch them chime on New Year’s Eve today. Traditionally, a few minutes before the clock chimes, the Russian president gives his New Year speech from the Kremlin.According to tradition, if you make a wish between the first and the last chimes, it will definitely come true.

By Daria Strelavina