Lenin @ the bank

The center of Vladimir, like that of many Russian towns and cities, is graced by a statue of Lenin. As per tradition, the inscription on the statue’s base read that the monument is by and for the workers and the farmers. According to both Wikipedia and my direct experience, there is a very, very limited number of Stalin’s statues in Russia, but on the other hand Lenin is still pretty “well represented”.

What is visually and historically more interesting about this statue, is that it sits right in front of the local branch of the Central Bank of Russia. The bank was actually there since before not only the statue, but before Lenin himself. For a long time it was the only bank in Russia and a testament to that is the building’s insignia, which simply reads “Bank”. There were no “alternative banks” and therefore no need to specify which bank that was.

The decision to create a State Bank of the Russian Empire was made by Russian Emperor Peter III on May 1762, less than two months before he was to be deposed and reportedly killed by his wife Catherine the Great. His plan was for the bank to be modeled on the Bank of England and that it would have the right to issue bank notes, but it was not implemented due to the emperor’s early “demise”. Ironically, some 50 years later, the outbreak of the Russian-Turkish War (in 1768) and the resulting deficit of the state budget forced the very same Catherine II, to go back to the idea of issuing a paper money, and in December 1768 she formed the State Assignation Bank, which later become the Central Bank of Russia.


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