The state emblem
The Russian emblem with double-headed eagle was renewed by the decree of the President of RF Boris Yeltsin on the 30s of November in 1993. It is explained by the fact that the history of the present Russian emblem numbers several centuries, but the symbolism has the root in the heraldry of the Roman Empire. Adoption of the double-headed eagle symbolizes the transition of the Byzantine (Roman) emperors to the ruling house of Ryurikovich and proves the popular expression “Moscow is the third Rome”.
The Russian emblem with the double-headed eagle as the State Emblem was adopted by the great Moscow prince Ivan III in 1472 after his marriage Sophia Fomichevna Paleolog, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantin XII. It is considered that the eagle’s appearance corresponds to his portrayl in the throne, which Sophia Fomichevna brought – at that time the double-headed eagle was the emblem of the Byzantine Empire. Its appearance is connected with the legent about the unification under the one sceptre of two Byzantine Empire – East and West, having one one-headed eagle in their emblems.
Till its fall (476), West-Romane Empire had a double-headed eagle in its emblem: the black one with dark red eyes and tongue and golden beak and paws. Then it appears in the state emblems, considering themselves the successors of Rome (for example, German nation), and also at the families, descending from the Roman emperors or persons, united with them by conjugal ties.
At first the black double-headed eagle, holding the sceptre and orb in its paws, was represented in the shield of the emblem. The eagle was crowned with three emperor’s crowns, and the shield with the figure of George Victorious, striking the winged snake, was represented on its chest. The shield is supported by archangel Michael and Gabriel’s figures, it is crowned with Alexander Nevsky’s helmet and is surrounded by the gala chain of the order of Saint Andrey Primordial. Now in Russian emblem there is only the golden double-headed eagle, holding the same sceptre and orb. Its portrayl is represented against the bright-crimson background. The portrayl of the modern russian emblem was made by artist I. Y. Bilibin and adopted as the emblem after the February Revolution.