The fight against Nazism ended 75 years ago, and there have been commemorations around the world in celebration. It was a worldwide conflictof course, and we’re certainly not going to get drawn into the distasteful debate on which nation did the most, but it’s fair to say the former Soviet Union took an inordinately brutal level of casualties in the fighting. Russia is also a nation that loves its public memorials, and there are some quite exceptional examples located around the country.

New this year in the city of Rzhev, some 200km west of Moscow, is what looks to be a quite stunning memorial to those that lost them lives in the brutal fighting in the region. How brutal? To put it in perspective, the USA lost 419,400 people in all theatres of combat, including fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. The British (including Crown Colonies) lost 450,900 in all their myriad battles globally. Soviet casualties just around this town of 56,000 people are at least 400,000, and perhaps many, many more, and in just a 15 month period. It was known to the soldiers as the Rzhev Meat Grinder due to a death rate of over 25%. Of the 56,000 that lived in Rzhev before the fighting, just 150 remained when it was liberated on 3 March 1943, only 297 houses still standing from the original 5,443. After the war, two mass graves were found containing an estimated 70,000 bodies.

The new monument is part of a complex and you can read more about it further down. The coin by artist A.A. Brynza, has taken a depiction of the design for its main focus, with a doubling down on the birds in the background. We like that additional touch as the monument on its own is an awkward fit for a round coin and this helps the aesthetics a lot. The obverse face is filled with the usual, although terrific looking, bicephalous Russian eagle.

Like all Russian coins, this one is quite simple and unambitious in design, but equally well described as elegant and understated. If the coin does its job of bringing attention to this monument, it will have done its job perfectly. That it does so attractively is a bonus. It’s a 1oz sterling silver coin with a mintage of 3,000 pieces, and is available now.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

The Soviet Soldier Monument was erected at the venue of fierce fighting that took place in 1942–1943. The bloody battles along the perimeter of the Rzhev–Vyazma Salient lasted for 14 months. The offensive and defensive operations undertaken by the troops of the Western and Kalinin Fronts suffering huge losses were extremely important strategically to change the course of the war in favour of the Red Army on the entire Soviet–German front.

The idea to erect the monument dedicated to the heroes of the Battle of Rzhev was suggested by veterans of the Great Patriotic War and supported by the Union State, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and the Russian Military Historical Society.

After the decision on the erection of the monument was approved in summer 2017, the Russian Military Historical Society announced and organised a creative contest. The Arts Council of the Russian Military Historical Society received 32 projects for consideration, including from Moscow, Belgorod, Bryansk, Irkutsk, Klin, Novosibirsk, Taldom, and the Republic of Belarus. In May 2018, the Council declared the winning project. Its authors are sculptor Andrey Korobtsov and architect Konstantin Fomin. They carried out the work under the general supervision of Andrey Konchalovsky.

The Soviet Soldier Monument was erected by the Russian Military Historical Society with the support of the Union State, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Tver Region, and the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. The monument was built on people’s donations. Its erection and inauguration are a key event of the Year of Memory and Glory in Russia. (Source: http://rzhev.histrf.ru)

REVERSE: the mirror field of the disc features a relief image of
the monument to the Soviet soldier – the central part of the memorial
complex in commemoration of all soldiers of the Great Patriotic War at
the venue of the gory battles near Rzhev in 1942–1943, against the
background of the silhouettes of flying cranes; along the rim there is
an inscription: ‘РЖЕВСКИЙ МЕМОРИАЛ СОВЕТСКОМУ СОЛДАТУ’ (SOVIET SOLDIER
MONUMENT IN RZHEV).

OBVERSE: the mirror field of the disc bears a relief image of the National Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation, over it along the rim there is the semicircular inscription ‘РОССИЙСКАЯ ФЕДЕРАЦИЯ’ (RUSSIAN FEDERATION) framed on both sides by doubled rhombuses, below under the coat of arms there are indications of the precious metal and its fineness on the left and the fine metal content and the mint trade mark on the right, at the bottom in the centre, in three lines, there is an inscription ‘БАНК РОССИИ’ (BANK OF RUSSIA), the denomination of the coin ‘3 РУБЛЯ’ (3 RUBLES), and the year of issue ‘2020 г.’ (2020).

https://www.mdm.de/
SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 3 Rubles
COMPOSITION 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 33.94 grams
DIMENSIONS 39.0 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 3,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA