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Russian lawmakers keep red stars on planes

A file photo of Soviet era designed MiG-29 displaying the red star

MOSCOW (PTI): Russian lawmakers have reversed their earlier decision to have Soviet-era red stars on military aircraft repainted in three colours of the national flag.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house of parliament voted 408-0 with one abstention to keep the five-pointed stars red and only add stripes in the national colours around their contour.

The move reverses the preliminary approval in December of a bill that called for repainting the stars in red, white and blue.

The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Sergei Shishkarev, the chief of parliament's transport committee, as saying that the original measure had drawn public protests.

"People feared depriving Russians of a symbol of their great victories," Shishkarev was quoted as saying.

Red stars have adorned the nation's military aircraft since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and are a powerful symbol. The Defence Ministry's daily newspaper is named Krasnaya Zvezda, Russian for Red Star.

The five-pointed red star is a symbol of communism as well as broader socialism. The star's origins in a mass political movement are found in the Russian civil war and the end of the First World War. The Russian military continues to use the Red Star to this day, and many former Soviet Union member nations still have it on military equipment and uniforms.

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