Few Russian medals mark the nation’s entry into World War I. Russia
was one of the main participants in the struggle, suffering military
and civilian losses greater than any other nation. Its unswerving
support for Serbia brought it into the conflict, matched by the
support it received from France, making the conflict truly worldwide.
This war brought military defeat and destruction of centuries-old
institutions and an entire economic system with the rise of Communism.
Keeping memories alive
Memory of the heroic events of late 1914 was kept alive by Russians
in exile, notably the large emigré community that settled around Paris
after the Russian Civil War of 1918 to 1921.
One such organization was the Society of Amateurs of the Russian
Military Past, which commissioned a series of medals struck by the
Paris Mint during the 1960s.
This group released its 1964 Russian War Involvement 50th
Anniversary medal, struck in 1967.
Inscribed entirely in Russian, this 49.8-millimeter piece was struck
in bronze and silverplate, designed by N.V. Zaretskii and sculptured
by Paris Mint engraver Daniel Fleur.
At first glance the medal is puzzling, presenting a bearded head
facing left with Russian legend “Emperor Nicholas the Second.” The
reverse bears a wreath of oak and laurel enclosing an L positioned
over “20 July 1914–1964.” This is not the date of the assassination in
Sarajevo nor of the declaration of war, but the date of the arrival of
French President Raymond Poincaré in Russia, sealing an alliance that
brought Russia to the brink of war.
Near the rim appears the incuse Ob-VO REVNIT. RUSSKOI VOEN.
STARINBI, for Society of Amateurs of the Russian Military Past. The
medals were sold for the benefit of the Union of Russian War Invalids.
The medal bears the edgemark of a cornucopia and BRONZE 1968.
Nine medals issued
The society issued nine medals in all, but as one of its officers
told an inquiring American, membership was dwindling, “as more and
more members report for duty at Sainte Genevieve,” the great Russian
cemetery of Sainte Genevieve des Bois outside Paris.
Russian President Vladimir Putin toured this historic Russian
cemetery in Paris during his first state visit to France and endowed a
fund for its preservation and maintenance.
Putin also restored the imperial double-headed eagle, crowns and
all, and the white-blue-red flag of the Romanovs.
More from CoinWorld.com:
mint goes global with groundbreaking coin shape
marks in error on gold American Eagle coins, only two different
coins have them
Baltimore time capsule believed to contain coins
largest-ever gold hoard discovery reported at ancient harbor
'Missing Edge Lettering' Native American $1 coin resells for more
to share your thoughts on this story.
Keep up with
all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by
signing up for our free eNewsletters
liking us on Facebook
following us on Twitter
. We're also on