Russia Culture Symbols Double-Headed Eagle

Double-Headed Eagle

In 1497, Grand Prince Ivan III established the first official coat of arms of Russia. The prince regarded himself as the successor to the Byzantine emperors and adopted their emblem of a black double-headed eagle on a golden background. In May 1857, the eagle was accompanied by symbols of the various territories of the Russian Empire. This remained the national emblem until October 1917, when the Bolsheviks seized power. The Soviet coat of arms was a globe surrounded by ears of corn and ribbons inscribed with the words “Workers of the World Unite” in the national languages of the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union. On 8 December 2000, the State Duma restored the double-headed eagle to the Russian coat of arms. The current national emblem is a red shield with a golden eagle beneath three crowns holding an orb and a sceptre.

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