100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (2020, CBR)
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RUSSIAN FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (CBR)
Very much in the news over the last couple of years, the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR) is tasked with ‘the safety of individuals, the society and the state against external threats’ much like Britain’s MI6 or the USA’s CIA. Tracing its origins back to 20 December 1920, when Felix Dzerzhinsky signed an order for the creation of the Foreign Division (INO) in the Cheka, it has gone through various name changes in the intervening period. Many of them have been feared – OGPU, NKVD and KGB, amongst them, always in the thick of whatever is going on.
It remains a force today as the SVR, reporting directly to the Russian President on what’s going on in the world and how it affects Russia. With the Central Bank of Russia appearing to enjoy issuing coins celebrating the seemingly endless minutiae of the Russian governmental system, there was no way the centennial anniversary of the SVR was not getting a coin. Indeed, there are two.
The sterling silver coin (31.1g, 39mm) has a touch of colour and depicts the main building complex of the SVR in Moscow. The fine gold coin (7.78g, 22.6mm) depicts he medium emblem of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Both carry the main inscription ‘СЛУЖБА ВНЕШНЕЙ РАЗВЕДКИ РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ’ (FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION) along the rim, and ‘100 ЛЕТ’ (100 YEARS) sits below it, above a laurel branch. The silver has a mintage of 3,000 pieces, with the gold capped at 1,000. With a century of history, no doubt fascinating, the choice of a nondescript building on the silver is a bit disappointing, but the gold coin with the emblem is a nice one in our view.
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