The mystery over the design of Russia’s 100-ruble commemorative bank
note for its annexation of Crimea last March is over. As early as a
month before its release on Dec. 23 no definitive information about it
was available. Perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of information
was that the note was sure to aggravate Russia’s Ukrainian foes.
The face of the note is dedicated to the city of Sevastopol, the
home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, and depicts its memorial to sunken
ships. The memorial was built in 1905 on the 50th anniversary of the
Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War in which the Russian navy
sunk its entire fleet rather than have it fall into the hands of the
British, French, Turkish, and Sardinian foes. It also served to block
access to the harbor. Also shown is part of a painting by I.K.
Aivazovsky Russian squadron on the Sevastopol roads, and a memorial to
the defense of the city against the Nazis in 1941 to 1942.
The main feature of the back, devoted to Crimea, is the Swallow’s
Nest, a cliff-top castle near Yalta from 1912. It is a popular tourist
attraction and a symbol of Crimea’s southern coast. Also shown are the
Big Khan mosque, and the RT-70, one of the largest radio telescopes in
Those looking for political insults on the note will also find them,
below the surface, where there is a watermark of Empress Catherine the
Great, who in April 1783 proclaimed Crimea to be part of the Russian Empire.
The note is equal to $1.40.