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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Preserves Hammer and Sickle

President Vladimir Putin intervened Friday to stop his own supporters from removing the Communist hammer and sickle from one of the most hallowed relics of the country's history.

A bill passed by the State Duma and put on Putin's desk for approval stripped the hammer and sickle from copies of the Victory Banner.

The banner was the flag that Soviet troops raised over Berlin's Reichstag on May 1, 1945, official histories say, an act caught in an iconic photograph and which came to define the victory over Nazi Germany.

Those wanting to remove the hammer and sickle from the flags that festoon Russian towns for May 9 Victory Day celebrations said it was out of date.

"It does not belong among the symbols of modern Russia," said United Russia Deputy Franz Klintsevich.

His party did not expect the storm of protest that resulted.