Great importance was given in the Portuguese press in general to two stories from Russia – the national anthem and the Pope case. The Soviet national anthem is remembered by all outside Russia and the question has been for many years now, “Why don’t the Russians bring back that great melody?” Ask a western European what is the Russian national anthem and anyone will be able to sing the first bars of the melody of Anatoli Alexandrov. Who can forget it? It was played for decades as the Soviet flag (at the time) was raised above the heads of proud athletes, who relegated the rest of the world at Olympic Games to see who would come in second place. It was played so many times that everyone in western Europe remembers this beautiful melody so well. The significance of the twin-headed eagle was carefully explained and came as a surprise to most readers, because for the first time, we hear Russia mentioned as “the Third Rome”, the heir of the seat of the Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Empire, as when the Turks took Constantinople in 1452, the heir to Byzantium (Sofia) married the Russian Czar Vassili III, taking the symbol of Byzantium with her. It is also reported that ex-President Boris Yeltsin intended to make the Communist Party illegal and that he was sorry that he had not solved this problem before, taking Lenin’s body from the Mausoleum in Moscow at the same time. It is not reported whether these statements were made before lunch, or after. The other main story is the future amnesty awarded to the American spy, Pope. It seems clear from the evidence that this ex-US Navy Officer received from a Russian University professor documents referring to the Chkval missile, which armed the Kursk submarine. However, after presenting a request for amnesty to President Vladimir Putin, it is reported that the Russian President decided to agree the amnesty on compassionate grounds, since Pope apparently suffers from some form of cancer of the bones. “Our Commissionm for Pardon decided unanimously that Pope should receive an amnesty”, said Anatoli Pristavkin, advisor to President Putin. The fact that Pope asks for pardon is an admission that he was guilty, is the angle given by the reports. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon

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