The original was created as "Leningrad Nights" by composer Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Matusovsky in 1955, but changed at the request of the Ministry of Culture for use in a documentary about a national athletic competition. The tune was subsequently popularized in the West, in the middle of the Cold War era, by Van Cliburn in 1958, and recorded with commercial success by Kenny Ball and the Jazzmen, and the Chad Mitchell Trio in the early 60s.
UKULELE and GUITAR-FRIENDLY LINK: Our whole series of songs can be found in a friendly format for ukulele (and guitar)-players on our sister blog "SILLY SONGS and SATIRE" with chord-charts for both the parody and original song, as well as helpful performing suggestions.
(to the tune of "Moscow Nights")
Said Byzántion’s seer,* “Constantine will found,
“In clean-shaven West, ‘barbarians’ storm the gates,
“Things take a bad turn with the Fourth Crusade,