Coat of arms of Russia

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Coat of arms of Russia
Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg
Armiger Russian Federation
Adopted30 November 1993
Blazon Gules, a double-headed Imperial Eagle displayed, twice imperially crowned, grasping in the dexter claw an imperial sceptre, and in the sinister claw an imperial orb, all Or. In chief another larger imperial crown with issuant and pendent therefrom a ribbon of the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, also Or. The Imperial Eagle is charged on the breast with an escutcheon: Gules, an image of St. George Martyr the Victorious in complete armour Argent, wearing a flying cloak Azure, riding a horse in full gallop Argent; the latter treading upon a dragon crawling in base Or, whose head the rider is piercing through with a spear Argent.

The coat of arms of the Russian Federation derives from the earlier coat of arms of the Russian Empire which was abolished with the Russian Revolution in 1917 and restored in 1993 after the constitutional crisis. Though modified more than once since the reign of Ivan III (1462–1505), the current coat of arms is directly derived from its mediaeval original, with the double-headed eagle having Byzantine and earlier antecedents from long before the emergence of any Russian state. The general tincture corresponds to the early fifteenth-century standard.[ citation needed ] The shape of the eagle can be traced back to the reign of Peter the Great (1682–1725), although the eagle charge on the present coat of arms is golden rather than the traditional, imperial black.

Coat of arms unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Russian Revolution 20th-century revolution leading to the downfall of the Russian monarchy

The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets.

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Description and usage

The two main elements of Russian state symbols (the two-headed eagle and the mounted figure slaying the dragon) predate Peter the Great. Today, however, the official description does not refer to the rider on the central shield as representing Saint George, mainly in order to maintain the secular character of the modern Russian state. However, the Bank of Russia's website reads:

Saint George 4th-century Christian saint and martyr

Saint George was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins, member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He became one of the most venerated saints and megalo-martyrs in Christianity, and he has been especially venerated as a military saint since the Crusades.

На аверсе монеты изображены: в центре — рельефное изображение Георгия Победоносца верхом на коне, поражающего копьем змея;

which is translated, on the website, to:

"The obverse: in the center — the relief image of Saint George the Victorious on horseback killing a serpent with a spear;"

in the website's description of the obverse, or the front side, of Russia's currently circulating one, five, ten, and fifty kopeck coins.

The current coat of arms was designed by artist Yevgeny Ukhnalyov; it was adopted officially on 30 November 1993. [1] Today, the imperial crowns on each head stand for the unity and sovereignty of Russia, both as a whole and in its constituent republics and regions. The orb and scepter grasped in the eagle's talons are traditional heraldic symbols of sovereign power and authority. They have been retained in the modern Russian arms despite the fact that the Russian Federation is not a monarchy, which led to objections by the Communists even though both the blue ribbon and the collar of the Order of St. Andrew (which in the imperial arms supported the three crowns and surrounded the central shield) have been removed from the current coat of arms.

Yevgeny Ukhnalyov Russian artist

Yevgeny Ilyich Ukhnalyov was a Russian artist. He was a founding member of the Russian Guild of Heraldic Artists and the creator of many state symbols of modern Russia including its coat of arms. In 1997 he was awarded the People's Artist of Russia title.

<i>Globus cruciger</i> orb topped with a cross; Christian symbol of authority

The globus cruciger, also known as "the orb and cross", is an orb surmounted by a cross. It has been a Christian symbol of authority since the Middle Ages, used on coins, in iconography, and with a sceptre as royal regalia.

Order of St. Andrew award

The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called is the highest order of the Russian Federation. Established as the first and highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire in 1698, it was abolished under the USSR before being re-established as the top Russian order in 1998.

The modern arms of Russia were instated by a presidential decree in 1993, and then by a federal law signed by President Vladimir Putin on December 20, 2000.

Decree of the President of Russia

A Decree of the President of the Russian Federation or Executive Order (Decree) of the President of Russia is a legal act (ukase) with the status of a by-law made by the Russian president.

Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as states or provinces join together in a federation, delegating their individual sovereignty and many powers to the central government while retaining or reserving other limited powers. As a result, two or more levels of government exist within an established geographic territory. The body of law of the common central government is the federal law.

Vladimir Putin Russian politician, 2nd and 4th President of Russia

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer serving as President of Russia since 2012, previously holding the position from 2000 until 2008. In between his presidential terms he was also the Prime Minister of Russia under his close associate Dmitry Medvedev.

Historical versions

Coat of arms of the Palaiologos dynasty, the last rulers of the Byzantine Empire Palaeologoi eagle XV c Byzantine miniature.jpg
Coat of arms of the Palaiologos dynasty, the last rulers of the Byzantine Empire

The heraldic device of Russia has gone through three major periods in its history, undergoing major changes in the transitions between the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation. The use of the double-headed eagle as a Russian coat of arms goes back to the 15th century. With the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Grand Dukes of Muscovy came to see themselves as the successors of the Byzantine heritage, a notion reinforced by the marriage of Ivan III to Sophia Paleologue (hence the expression "Third Rome" for Moscow and, by extension, for the whole of Imperial Russia). Ivan adopted the golden Byzantine double-headed eagle in his seal, first documented in 1472, marking his direct claim to the Roman imperial heritage and posing as a sovereign equal and rival to the Holy Roman Empire. In 1497, it was stamped on a charter of share and allotment of independent princes' possessions. At about the same time, the image of a gilt, double-headed eagle on a red background appeared on the walls of the Palace of Facets in the Moscow Kremlin.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Fall of Constantinople successful siege: the Ottoman Empire captures the Byzantine capital, causing the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire

The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by an invading Ottoman army on 29 May 1453. The attackers were commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II, who defeated an army commanded by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos and took control of the imperial capital, ending a 53-day siege that began on 6 April 1453. After conquering the city, Sultan Mehmed transferred the capital of the Ottoman State from Edirne to Constantinople and established his court there.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

The other main Russian coat of arms, the image of St George slaying the dragon, is contemporaneous. In its first form, as a rider armed with a spear, it is found in the seal of Vasili I of Moscow in 1390. At the time of Ivan III, the dragon was added, but the final association with Saint George was not made until 1730, when it was described as such in an Imperial decree. Eventually, St George became the patron saint of Moscow (and, by extension, of Russia).

After the assumption of the title of Tsar by Ivan IV, the two coats are found combined, with the eagle bearing an escutcheon depicting St George on the breast. With the establishment of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1589, a patriarchal cross was added for a time between the heads of the eagle.

1721–1917: Russian Empire

Coat of arms of the Russian Empire
Greater coat of arms of the Russian empire.png
Greater version
Versions
Middle Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire.png
Middle version
Lesser Coat of Arms of Russian Empire.svg
Lesser version
Gerb rossii2.svg
Escutcheon only
Armiger Emperor of Russia

The Russian Empire had a coat of arms, displayed in either its greater, middle and lesser version.

Its escutcheon was golden with a black two-headed eagle crowned with two imperial crowns, over which the same third crown, enlarged, with two flying ends of the ribbon of the Order of Saint Andrew. The State Eagle held a golden scepter and golden globus cruciger. On the chest of the eagle there was an escutcheon with the arms of Moscow, depicting Saint George, mounted and defeating the dragon.

After approval by Alexander III on 24 July 1882, the greater coat of arms was adopted on 3 November, replacing the previous 1857 version.

Its central element is the coat of arms, crowned with the helmet of Alexander Nevsky, with black and golden mantling, and flanked by the archangels Michael and Gabriel. The collar of the Order of Saint Andrew is suspended from the coat of arms. The whole lies within a golden ermine mantle, crowned by the Imperial Crown of Russia and decorated with black double-headed eagles. The inscription on the canopy reads: Съ Нами Богъ ("God is with us"). Above the canopy stands the state khorugv, of gold cloth, on which is depicted the Medium State Seal. The banner is topped by the State Eagle.

Russian coat of arms from Acta Eruditorum, 1708 Acta Eruditorum - III stemmi, 1708 - BEIC 13371326.jpg
Russian coat of arms from Acta Eruditorum, 1708

Around the central composition are placed fifteen coats of arms of the various territories of the Russian Empire. Nine of these are crowned and placed on a laurel and oak wreath. Proceeding from the left in a counter-clockwise direction, these represent, as they are included in the full imperial title: the Khanate of Kazan, the Kingdom of Poland, Tauric Chersonesos, the unified coat of arms of the Grand Principalities of Kiev, Vladimir and Novgorod, the dynastic arms of the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov, the Grand Principality of Finland, the Georgian principalities, and the Khanates of Siberia and Astrakhan.

The six upper escutcheons are joint depictions of various smaller principalities and oblasts . From the left in a clockwise fashion, these are: the combined arms of the northeastern regions (Perm, Volga Bulgaria, Vyatka, Kondinsky, Obdorsk), of Belorussia and Lithuania (Lithuania, Białystok, Samogitia, Polatsk, Vitebsk, Mstislavl), the provinces of Great Russia proper (Pskov, Smolensk, Tver, Nizhniy-Novgorod, Ryazan, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Belozersk, Udorsky), the arms of the southwestern regions (Volhyn, Podolsk, Chernigov), the Baltic provinces (Estonia, Courland and Semigalia, Karelia, Livonia) and Turkestan.

The Middle Coat of Arms (Средний государственный герб Российской Империи) is similar to the Great Coat of Arms, excluding the khorugv and the six upper escutcheons. The Abbreviated Imperial Title is inscribed over the perimeter of the Seal.

The Lesser Coat of Arms (Малый государственный герб Российской Империи) depicts the imperial double-headed eagle, as used in the coat of arms, with the addition of the collar of the Order of Saint Andrew around the escutcheon of St. George, and the Arms of Astrakhan, Siberia, Georgia, Finland, Kiev-Vladimir-Novgorod, Taurica, Poland and Kazan on the wings (seen clockwise).

In the beginning of the 17th century, with the ascension of the Romanov dynasty and its contacts with Western Europe, the image of the eagle changed. In 1625, for the first time the double-headed eagle appeared with three crowns. Traditionally, the latter have alternatively been interpreted as representing the conquered kingdoms of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia, as stated in the first edict concerning the state seal, on 14 December 1667, or as standing for the unity of Great Russia (Russia), Little Russia (the Ukraine) and White Russia (Belarus). Probably under influence from its German equivalent, the eagle, from 1654 onwards, was designed with spread wings and holding a scepter and orb in its claws.

During the reign of Peter the Great, further changes were made. The collar of the newly established Order of Saint Andrew was added around the central escutcheon, and the crowns were changed to the imperial pattern after his assumption of the imperial title in 1721. At about this time, the eagle's color was changed from golden to black, which would be retained until the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1917. A final form for the eagle was adopted by imperial decree in 1729, and remained virtually unchanged until 1853.

During the early 19th century, the eagle designs diversified, and two different variants were adopted by Emperor Nicholas I. The first type represented the eagle with spread wings, one crown, with an image of St.George on the breast and with a wreath and a thunderbolt in its claws. The second type followed the 1730 pattern, with the addition of the arms of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia on its left wing and those of Poland, the Taurica and Finland on the right one.

In 1855–57, in the course of a general heraldic reform, the eagle's appearance was changed, mirroring German patterns, while St George was made to look to the left, in accordance with the rules of Western heraldry. At the same time, the full set of coat of arms of Great, Medium and Minor Arms, was laid down and approved. The final revisions and changes were made in 1882–83, and are those described above.

1918–93: Russian SFSR and the Soviet Union

The coat of arms of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was adopted on 10 July 1918 by the government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Soviet Union), and modified several times afterwards. It shows wheat as the symbol of agriculture, a rising sun for the future of the Russian nation, the red star (the RSFSR was the last Soviet Republic to include the star in its state emblem, in 1978) as well as the hammer and sickle for the victory of Communism and the "world-wide socialist community of states".

The Soviet Union state motto ("Workers of the world, unite!") in Russian ('Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!' — Proletarii vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes!) is also a part of the coat of arms.

The acronym of the RSFSR is shown above the hammer and sickle, and reads 'PCФCP', for "Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика" (lit.Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic).

Similar emblems were used by the Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republics (ASSR) within the Russian SFSR; the main differences were generally the use of the republic's acronym and the presence of the motto in the language(s) of the titular nations (with the exception of the state emblem of the Dagestan ASSR, which had the motto in eleven languages as there is no single Dagestani language).

The Soviet Union as a whole adopted its emblem in 1923, which remained in use until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Although it is technically an emblem rather than a coat of arms, since it does not follow traditional heraldic rules, in Russian it is called герб (gerb), the word used for a traditional coat of arms. It was the first state insignia created in the style known as socialist heraldry, a style also seen in e.g. the emblem of the People's Republic of China.

The emblem shows the Soviet emblems of the Hammer and Sickle and the Red Star over a globe, in the centre of a wreath wrapped in ribbons emblazoned with the Soviet motto ("Workers of the world, unite!") in the official languages of the Soviet Republics, in the reverse order they were mentioned in the Soviet Constitution. Each Soviet Republic (SSR) and Autonomous Soviet Republic (ASSR) had its own coat of arms, largely inspired by the state emblem of the Union.

Four versions were used: 6 ribbons were used in 1923, which were written on in Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani; 11 ribbons with the addition of Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik, Kazakh, Kyrgyz; 16 with the addition of Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moldavian, and Finnish. Finally, the inscriptions in Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik, Kazakh and Kyrgyz were updated to reflect their transition from the Latin to the Cyrillic script. The final version of the emblem was adopted in 1956 with the removal of the Finnish inscription from the insignia, reflecting the 1956 transformation of the Karelo-Finnish SSR into the Karelian ASSR.

In 1992, the inscription was changed from RSFSR ('РСФСР') to the Russian Federation ('Российская Федерация') in connection with the change of the name of the state. [2] In 1993, the Communist design was replaced by the present coat of arms (see the top of this article).

Evolution

See also

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References

  1. Ivanov, Dmitry. "Geral'dika segodnya || Yevgeny Il'ich UKHNALYOV (1931-2015)" Геральдика сегодня || Евгений Ильич УХНАЛЁВ (1931-2015) [Heraldry today || Evgeny Ilyich UHNALYOV (1931-2015)]. sovet.geraldika.ru. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  2. The law of the Russian Federation from 21 April 1992 № 2708-I «About changes and additions of the Constitution (Basic law) of the Russian SFSR»
  1. The status of Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is since March 2014 under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities.
  2. The status of Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is since March 2014 under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities.