Black Sea Plane Crash: Red Army Choir Among Victims

(teleSUR)  Moscow – The world-renowned Alexandrov Ensemble, or Red Army Choir, is considered one of the remaining symbols of the Soviet era in Russia.

Russian officials have confirmed that 64 members of the world-renowned Red Army Choir are among the 92 people dead after their TU-154 military aircraft headed for Syria crashed in the Black Sea.

Flickr: Patrick Semchism Attribution 2.0 Generic
Flickr: Patrick Semchism Attribution 2.0 Generic

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared December 26 a national day of mourning for crash victims, and Russians from all walks of life are paying tribute to the iconic musical group.

Also known as the Alexandrov Ensemble, the choir and dance troupe is one of the most emblematic remnants from Russia’s Soviet era. Founded in 1928 by Alexandr Alexadrov, the creator of the national anthem of the Soviet Union, the group’s main aim was to raise the morale of Soviet troops.

The group accompanied the Soviet military on the war fronts during the Second World War, making some 1,500 performances during this time.

Initially comprised of approximately 30 members, there are now some 400 members with groups of 50 or so touring and performing around the world. In addition to the choir, the ensemble now includes dancers.

The choir’s songs are said to evoke Russian patriotism given the popular and folkloric nature of the songs, such as the famous “The Volga Boatmen,” an adaptation of a popular melody.

Since their inception, the Red Army Choir has had an important presence in the international scene and are considered ambassadors of the former Soviet Union.

When the USSR disintegrated 25 years ago, the group continued to perform inside and outside of Russia.

This post originally ran on teleSUR.