Table of contents:
- Ancient bird and surprise coin
- State flag upside down
- Presidential "order"
- "Mute" hymns and poems from dreams
- One of a kind
Video: Heraldry: what are the main symbols of Russia talking about?
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
In the history of each of the signs of state importance - both the official symbols of the country and the symbols of the president - the history of Russia is bizarrely refracted with all the difficult periods and sometimes curiosities.
Ancient bird and surprise coin
The current state emblem of Russia, although it was officially approved in 1993, has a five-century history and is considered the oldest state symbol of Russia. For the first time, the image of a two-headed eagle was used as the country's coat of arms in 1497 on the seal of the Grand Duke of Moscow and All Russia Ivan III. Moreover, according to one of the main versions, Ivan III inherited this state emblem from his wife Sophia Palaeologus, niece of the last Byzantine emperor. Some historians believe that this became a kind of symbol of the continuity of the Russian state from the fallen Byzantine Empire.
In subsequent centuries, the royal bird raised and lowered its wings, changed color, and the rider - as the heraldists often call the rider in the center of the composition, fighting the dragon - was recognized either as a king, or as an abstract knight, or as George the Victorious. But one thing remained unchanged - the main element of the coat of arms was a two-headed bird with spread wings.
The return to the double-headed eagle at the end of the USSR (with its own coat of arms) was as stormy and contradictory as all the events of the early 1990s. A swallow and even a bear were proposed as a coat of arms. There was a furious discussion in the press of that time whether it was worth returning the eagle. And if it is, then in what form - with wings up or down? With or without crowns? They even argued about how to make the eagle "kinder".
We settled on two drawings with an eagle and even officially published them with the proviso that the projects would be finalized. And they were really being finalized. However, history took a new turn - the Soviet Union collapsed. Finally, by decree of President Boris Yeltsin of November 30, 1993, the coat of arms was approved in the drawing of the artist Yevgeny Ukhnalev.
And then the historical bird again hovered in the air: in the 1993 Constitution, the state symbols were not approved, their legal status had to be fixed by separate laws. A new stage of discussions followed, which dragged on for another seven years.
All these legal conflicts led to an interesting incident. The new country needed new money. Both coins and banknotes began to be printed with an eagle. But based on a drawing by Ivan Bilibin - it was used in one of those two officially published versions. Formally, it was believed that the emblem of the Bank of Russia was used on Russian money. With a bird that was significantly different from the one on the coat of arms of the Russian Federation (the bank explained that it could not print the coat of arms of the country, which was not approved), the money lasted for many more years. Until in 2014, President Vladimir Putin (who, by the way, approved the long-suffering coat of arms in 2000) was not asked on a straight line with citizens why, in fact, the coat of arms on Russian money was not the same. “The Central Bank decides this in accordance with the law of the Russian Federation. I haven’t thought about it, but we will think about it,”the president was surprised.
We "thought" quickly (in a historical perspective) - since 2016, the coat of arms on the money has become what we need. By the way, in the same year the coat of arms was again proposed to be changed. The leader of the Night Wolves bike club, Alexander Zaldostanov (Surgeon), appealed to Putin to supplement the image of the eagle with ears and sun from the USSR coat of arms, thus repeating one of the many versions of the state symbol of the early 1990s. The proposal was not implemented, which, however, did not prevent bikers from using their version of the coat of arms as a decoration for the "Night Wolves" show.
Each element of the current coat of arms of Russia has a meaning. The Wilinbachs interpreted this language as follows in his dissertation "State heraldry in Russia: theory and practice": "The two-headed eagle is a symbol of the unity of peoples living in the European and Asian parts of the Russian Federation. Crowns over his heads mean, first of all, the sovereignty of all subjects of the Federation and the Federation itself, and can also be viewed as a symbol of the union of the three branches of power - legislative, executive and judicial. The scepter and orb implies strong power and protection of the state and its unity. And the rider striking a dragon with a spear is not only and not so much the emblem of the capital as an ancient symbol of the victory of good over evil, the readiness of the whole people to defend and defend their freedom and independence from the enemy, if such a thing appears."
State flag upside down
One of the symbols of presidential power - the presidential standard - and the state flag are very similar. Both are in tricolor, only the standard also has an embroidered coat of arms. The standard is raised or installed where the head of state is at that moment, be it an office, a building, a ship or a car. But if the flag disappears from all the main state buildings, then the state has changed.
The official approval of the flag as we see it now took place in 2000, as was the case with the Russian coat of arms. But the flag managed to avoid the same stormy controversy in the 1990s. We argued a bit about the width of the stripes and settled on almost the same version that Peter I drew, first for his ship, and then as a state symbol for the whole country.
But the appearance of the tricolor on the main buildings of the country took place in such a rapidly changing environment that it was not without oversights. A new banner hoisted on the flagpole of the current House of Government of the Russian Federation immediately after the August 1991 coup and a rally of supporters of democracy at this building on Krasnopresnenskaya embankment. Instantly a decree was issued, signed by the first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFRS Ruslan Khasbulatov, on the recognition of the tricolor cloth as the main flag of the country. True, Vilinbakhov noted in his dissertation that a serious mistake was made in the decision in a hurry: the flag in it was called national, not state, which lowered the status of the flag and formally made it impossible to use it as a symbol of the state.
Moreover, the first flag of the new country was not intended to be placed on a street flagpole. The former head of the Main Operations Directorate of the President's Administrative Department, Viktor Savchenko, recalled how he had to hastily borrow the tricolor flag from the ex-Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Viktor Yaroshenko - he was a supporter of the return of the historic tricolor and held the banner in his office. There was simply no other flag. The cloth hung for exactly 24 hours, then it was replaced with a banner made of more suitable fabric. But the date of its hoisting - August 22 - became the official Day of the State Flag of the Russian Federation.
Above the Kremlin, the scarlet Soviet banner was replaced by the Russian white-blue-red a few months later, on the evening of December 25, 1991, after Mikhail Gorbachev officially announced that he was resigning as president of the USSR. Savchenko said that he even wrote in a special notebook how the flag should be changed in detail. However, journalist Boris Grishchenko, who worked for many years in the Kremlin pool and witnessed the change of eras, recalled in his book The Outsider in the Kremlin how the Russian Federation spent the first 12 minutes of its existence with a flag hung upside down. “As soon as the wind unfolded the tricolor banner, someone from those standing at the window of the third floor of the main building of the citadel (the Kremlin. - Ed. Note) swore in an undertone,” he wrote. - “I told them, bitches, how to hang. They don't listen to a damn thing! " said the same voice. "On a winter evening in the dark, the stripes were difficult to distinguish, so they hung the flag in the wrong way.
There are different versions of why the tricolor is used and what the colors of the flag mean, and none has been proven. “A certain order of the three horizontal stripes, white, blue and red, indicates that we are dealing with the Russian flag. But such a simple explanation is often not enough for people, and then fantasies begin,”Vilinbakhov said in an interview with TASS.
One of the official presidential symbols - the sign of the President of Russia - was made in the form of an equal-pointed cross and chain based on the Order of Merit to the Fatherland. But it was for this reason that he had every chance to go to the museum. The fact is that, according to international tradition, presidential signs are made in the image of the main state award. The Order of Merit … was considered her in 1996, when the badge was being developed. And already in 1998 the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called became the highest order of the Russian Federation. But they did not change the sign - it exists in a single copy.
The sign immediately informs the new president of what he must bring to the fatherland: the motto "Benefit, honor, glory" is written on the medallions of the order chain. On the reverse side, in the links, there are overlays covered with white enamel, on which the names of former presidents are inscribed in gold. Thus, the sign bears the names of Yeltsin, Medvedev and Putin, and the last name is indicated three times - according to the number of previous presidential terms.
Like other symbols of the presidency, this sign was made on behalf of Yeltsin. And the fact that there are 17 links in the chain of the sign is not connected with any special symbolism, but with the fact that it was designed for the hefty growth of the first president of Russia - its length was even verified by a dummy that copied his figure.
At his first inauguration, in May 2000, Putin chose to just hold the sign in his hands. However, Medvedev, taking office, also did not wear a sign.
For the entire presidential term, the head of state puts on the badge only once - at the inauguration ceremony. The rest of the time the presidential "order" is in storage.
"Mute" hymns and poems from dreams
The national anthem does not belong to the number of signs, the language of which heraldists are used to deciphering. Nevertheless, this is one of the completely official state symbols. And, perhaps, none of the other symbols has changed as much as this one. Even in tsarist Russia, he was not immediately settled.
As you know, the anthem, the melody of which is used in the modern version, was approved during the Great Patriotic War. Sergei Mikhalkov became a co-author of the poems for the first version of the anthem almost by accident. The fact is that he was considered a children's poet, so at first he was not even invited to participate in the poetry competition for the new anthem. However, as Mikhalkov wrote in his memoirs, one early morning he was woken up by a doorbell. On the threshold stood the poet Gabriel Ureklyan, who appeared in print under the pseudonym G. El-Registan. “I had a dream that you and I became the authors of the anthem! - from the doorway he discouraged. “I even wrote down a few words that I dreamed about!” - wrote Mikhalkov. - Gabo (G. El-Registan. - Ed.) Handed me a hotel bill, on the back of which I read: "Great Russia", "Friendship of peoples", "Lenin" … "Why don't we really try our hand ? - I thought. “It’s not the gods who burn the pots.”
None of the two poets knew how the hymns were written. In terms of content, they decided to take the Constitution of the USSR as a basis, and the first verse of "The Anthem of the Bolshevik Party" to the music of Aleksandrov was chosen as the basis for the poetic scale. Stalin made corrections and suggestions to the text with his own hand. The country first heard the approved anthem in 1944.
However, after Stalin's death and Nikita Khrushchev came to power, the text was abandoned - the new head of state was not satisfied with the mention of the "father of nations" in the anthem. The anthem remained "mute" for 20 years, after which Mikhalkov was again called up to correct the text.
At first, Mikhail Glinka's unfinished work "Patriotic Song" became the anthem of the new Russia. But this hymn was sung without words - all versions of the poems were rejected by the public. And the music itself was frankly not popular.
And in 2000, Vladimir Putin proposed to return to Aleksandrov's melody again. And for the third time Mikhalkov wrote poems to the anthem. The new approved anthem was played for the first time throughout the country on New Year's Eve, like the first anthem of the Soviet Union, written by Mikhalkov during the war.
“Could I then have thought that after 27 years (1970), by the decision of the new leaders of the party and government, I would have to remove Stalin's name from the text of the anthem and make other adjustments to it! And after another 20 years (1990) to read unflattering remarks addressed to me and recommendations in Soviet newspapers suggesting to replace the text of the anthem as not corresponding to the policy of the party and the state? No, I could not have foreseen this! However, really, what kind of "friendship of peoples" was at that time? What is the "strength of the people"? What is the "unbreakable union"? " - the poet wrote in his memoirs.
One of a kind
The third symbol of presidential power - a special copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation - is not officially such. This special book became a presidential symbol thanks to the presidential decree of August 5, 1996, No. 1138, published by Boris Yeltsin on the eve of his re-entry into the office of head of state. However, a day before the inauguration scheduled for May 7, 2000, the then acting. President Putin signed Decree No. 832, which confirmed that the president's standard and sign are symbols of the head of state, and canceled the 1996 decree. And with it the special status of a special copy of the Constitution.
Therefore, the president who is formally taking office can take the oath on any copy of the basic law - even a special copy, or even one rented from the district library. Nevertheless, according to tradition, this book, in a red cover made of lizard skin with gold embossing, is brought to every inauguration ceremony.
Before each new head of state takes office, at the beginning of the book, with the help of ribbons, a new page is woven of thin expensive paper with the image of the Kremlin, the text of which says that it was on this copy that the next president took the oath, his seal and signature bears.
The special copy of the Constitution is one of a kind. But what if the text of the country's basic law changes? At the time of the adoption of the 2009 amendments, which changed the terms of office of the president of the country and the State Duma, Natalya Timakova, who was then press secretary of the president, said that the special copy of the Constitution would simply replace the necessary pages and re-bind the book. Obviously, in the light of the upcoming nationwide vote on new amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the special copy may again get into trouble.
The history of the coat of arms of Russia dates back to the end of the 15th century, during the reign of Ivan III, when for the first time the image of a two-headed eagle appeared on the seal of the sovereign. It was this emblem that became the main element of the coat of arms, which has undergone various changes over time
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