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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soviet Stars, Tsarist Eagles Side by Side

The State Duma gave tentative approval Wednesday to a new red flag for the military that features Soviet-era stars and tsarist-style double-headed eagles -- a combination derided by both Communists and liberals.

"This decision is eclectic from both political and artistic viewpoints," said Andrei Vulf, a member of the liberal Union of Right Forces faction. "The combination of stars and double-headed eagles shows that it was invented in haste."

The Duma voted 271-105 with two abstentions for the flag in the first of three required readings.

A large golden double-headed eagle adorns the central section of the red flag, and smaller, gold-edged stars are located in each corner.

The new flag was submitted to the Duma by President Vladimir Putin.

At Putin's initiative, parliament earlier resurrected the music of the old Soviet anthem, albeit with a new words, and brought back the Soviet-era red banner as the military's flag. At the same time, it also endorsed the tsarist-era white-red-and-blue flag that Russia has been using since the 1991 Soviet demise and the old imperial emblem of a double-headed eagle.

Putin has ignored criticism from liberals, who have voiced fears that the return of the communist symbols could herald the return of authoritarianism. He maintains that the use of Soviet-era symbols will help overcome deep divisions in society by paying tribute to the achievements of the Soviet past that older people cherish.

The Communists, who hailed the resurrection of the Soviet anthem and red flag, angrily assailed the combination of stars and imperial eagles on the proposed new flag and voted against it.

"The red flag that was hoisted by our soldiers [over Berlin in 1945] didn't have double-headed eagles," Communist lawmaker Yury Nikiforenko said. "Those who vote for it now will be damned by future generations."