Russia’s increasingly imperialistic direction now right on the money

Gennady Khazanov, an acclaimed Russian comedic actor loyal to the Putin regime, presenting the Russian president with a reproduction of the Russian imperial crown made for Putin's 63rd birthday. (Image: meduza.io)

Putin accepting the Russian imperial crown (reproduction) for his 63rd birthday. (Image: meduza.io) 

2016/11/13 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

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.

Russian 10 ruble coin -- 2016 issue

Russian 10 Ruble Coin — 2016 Issue

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.”

Russian 10 ruble coin -- 2013 issue

Russian 10 Ruble Coin — 2013 Issue

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.]

250 Ruble Note -- Issued by Russian Provisional Government in 1917 (Image: Wikimedia)

250 Ruble Note — Issued by Russian Provisional Government in 1917 (Image: Wikimedia)

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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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Turtler

    Interesting observation, though given that these are the National Bolsheviks I’d be cautious about them.

    And as for the Swastika before Hitler, that isn’t very indicative. Tons of people used the Swastika in the West before Hitler without the slightest bit of ominous intent. JRR Tolkein used it in all his books until the Nazis become prominent, and the Finnish Air Force used it as a roundel even when they fought the Nazis in the Lapland War at the end of WWII.

    It was one of these bits of “Oriental Exotica” that people in the West went gaga on during the 19th and early 20th centuries (including Hitler). So blaming the Provisional Republic for it is nonsense.

    (Especially since Hitler was quite explicitly anti-monarchist.)

  • zorbatheturk

    STOP RuSSian Imperialism! NOW! No more Czars! No more Soviets! No more Putins! Ever!

    Eastern Europe has still not recovered fully from forty plus years of Stalinism imposed by force in 1945.

    Get lost Putin. Out of Ukraine, out of Europe. RuSSia offers the West nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

  • Alex George

    “…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.”

    Before doing so, they should consider the fate of those before them who have directly opposed Russian autocracy. Over many centuries there has been a regular pattern – the ones who died quickly were fortunate.

    The move towards monarchy is not in the least surprising. It may not happen, but it is more likely than not. Many Russians believe that the best thing for their country is its tradition of “oriental despotism”, which arose from Muscovy’s peculiar combination of Rus and Tatar cultures.