Putin accepting the Russian imperial crown (reproduction) for his 63rd birthday. (Image: meduza.io)
Sometimes small changes in the most ordinary places are a clearer indication of where a country is headed than the much-ballyhooed speeches of leaders. That appears to be the case in Russia where crowns have now been put on the eagles of the Russian state shield that are featured on the obverse of Russian currency.
The founder of Russian National Bolshevik Party Eduard Limonov writes that a friend of his who is both a lieutenant and a coin collector called his attention to this development which so far has passed largely unnoticed by the Russian population:
On the 10 ruble coin issued this year, there are now crowns over the eagles and a scepter in its claws.
They weren’t there in the previous 2013 issuance of the coins of this denomination, the numismatist says. And he asked Limonov whether “we still are a republic” if crowns are appearing on the money. The national Bolshevik said he responded that this shows that the Kremlin is “preparing for a monarchist system and autocracy.”
Asked by the ForumMSK portal to explain why this change has occurred, the Russian Central Bank said that it had done no more than bring the country’s currency into line with the state shield that was introduced by Boris Yeltsin in 1993 where both crowns and scepter were shown.
Anatoly Baranov, the chief editor of the portal, says that Russians should remember that that 1993 shield was put forward by a president who used force against the country’s parliament and introduced this symbol without consulting with anyone. He said it was fortunate that Yeltsin didn’t go even further and do what the Russian Provisional Government did.
In 1917, he notes, the Provisional Government issued money showing the Russian double eagle on the background of a green swastika. [For background, see Vladimir Novikov, Russky gosudarstvenny orel (Paris, 1966) where the appearance of the swastika is given what the author says is “a mystical interpretation” about the future of Russia.]
Baranov says that all efforts including his own to get prosecutors or the media interested in this have failed, and he warns that this is the clearest and most unambiguous indication yet that in Russia, the republic form of the state is in danger and that Russians who care about that need to come to its defense.
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