Author Topic: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia  (Read 6928 times)

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Offline <k>

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From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« on: January 12, 2013, 10:37:33 PM »

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev (born 1931) became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985. It soon became clear that he was like no other Soviet leader before him, and that he was intent on reforming the Soviet Union. “Perestroika” and “glasnost” (“restructuring” and “openness”) became his watchwords, and Gorbachev himself became popular both with the leaders and the people of the West. He was seen as ordinary, open and decent – unlike the dour apparatchiks we had become used to. In a few short years it became clear just how radical he was. He let go of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe peacefully and aimed to bring greater democratisation to his own people.

By the end of 1989, democracy had come, or was clearly on the way, to the USSR’s former satellites in central and eastern Europe. Inevitably, the various nationalities of the Soviet Union, especially those in the Baltic states, began demanding their own freedom. Gorbachev, however, was not prepared to see the dissolution of his own Soviet Union, but the genie was now out of the bottle, and it was impossible to put it back. In 1990 the old Soviet hardliners, who had been against Gorbachev’s policies all along, started to show their dissatisfaction with the man who seemed to have put the existence of the Soviet Union at risk. Gorbachev now seemed to take a more conservative line towards nationalists and independence-minded republics, in order to appease his hardliners.
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Offline <k>

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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 10:38:16 PM »
Despite Gorbachev’s modernisation campaigns, at the beginning of 1991 the Soviet Union’s coins still looked the same as they had for decades, and the continued depiction of the hammer and sickle recalled the grim days of Stalinism.



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Offline <k>

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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 10:40:30 PM »
However, a new design series started to appear later in 1991. The reverse of the coins still looked rather old-fashioned, as the designs included an ear of grain and an oak leaf, elements that were to be seen on world coins as long ago as the 1800s. Despite this, the smart modern fonts meant that the reverse of the coins looked suitably removed from the old Stalinist designs.

The obverse of the coins was a revelation, because here was an attractively modern design of part of the Kremlin – not a building that would previously have seemed very inviting. Notice that a small star still appears at the top of the 10 roubles coin (reverse). I assume it is meant to be a reference to a state still dominated by the communist party. Also, the sprigs on the reverse of the 10 roubles are longer than those on the other coins.



« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 05:27:14 PM by <k> »
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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 10:40:59 PM »
Not only that, but the 10 roubles denomination was a beautiful bimetallic coin – not what you would have expected, at a time when the Soviet Union was still associated with shoddy industrial products.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 05:43:39 PM »
In 1992 the newly independent Russia introduced its first coins. Their reverse designs were based on those of the last USSR coins. However, whereas the USSR coins of 1991 had included 10 and 50 kopecks coins, with a 10 rouble coin as the highest denomination, the Russian coins reflected rising inflation, starting at 1 rouble and including bimetallic 50 and 100 rouble coins.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 05:46:43 PM »
The common obverse of the coins was a splendid double-headed eagle, evoking the old Tsarist era. Here it is seen on the 20 rouble coin.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 05:48:38 PM »
Here is the bimetallic 50 roubles. Notice the extra patterning on either side of the obverse.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 05:50:06 PM »
The 100 roubles was also bimetallic, with a diameter of 24.5mm, making it very slightly smaller than the 50 roubles, which was 25mm in diameter. Both bimetallic coins carried a small star on the obverse, but it surely was no communist star this time.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 07:21:41 PM »
In 1993, the bimetallic 50 roubles and 100 roubles coins were replaced by monometallic coins. Both coins retained the same obverse and reverse designs, but the 50 roubles coin was now minted in both aluminium-bronze and brass-clad steel versions, while the 100 roubles coin was minted in copper-nickel-zinc.  The 50 roubles coin kept its original diameter of 25mm, whereas the diameter of the 100 roubles coin was increased from 24.5mm to 27mm.

From now on, bimetallic coins were reserved for commemorative collector issues.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 07:10:39 PM »
In 1998 Russia redenominated the rouble, and a new design series was released. The first coins were dated 1997 but not released until 1998. Here you can see the kopeck denominations. The 1 and 5 kopeck coins were in copper-nickel-clad steel and were respectively 15.5mm and 18.5mm in diameter. The 10 and 50 kopeck coins were made of brass and were 17.5mm and 19.5mm in diameter respectively.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 07:13:01 PM »
Here is a closer look at the 1 kopeck coin. The common obverse depicts St George killing the dragon, while the reverse has a design of foliage, which is common to the other low denomination coins.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 07:14:23 PM »
Here is a closer look at the design of St George and the dragon, as it appears on a 5 kopeck coin of 2007.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2013, 07:46:47 PM »
The higher denominations, the 1, 2 and 5 rouble coins, all showed the double-headed eagle on the obverse, and a different design of foliage on the reverse; they were 20mm, 23mm and 25mm in diameter respectively, and all were copper-nickel clad coins.

Below you can see the 1 rouble coin. The denomination appears on both sides of the coin on the higher denominations: in words on the obverse, and in numerals on the reverse.



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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2013, 07:49:59 PM »
Here are the 2 and 5 roubles from the series. The double eagle looks magnificent, but the foliage appears rather old-fashioned to my eyes, and I am not sure what it is meant to symbolise.







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Re: From the end of the USSR to a new Russia
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2013, 07:51:45 PM »
Compare the eagle from the earlier 1992 series with the one from this later series. They are very similar, but the accompanying legends are shown in different styles.







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