Weird and magnificent regional Russian flags featuring animals

The flag of Zheleznogorsk is a bear splitting an atom. The city was founded to support a plutonium production facility. It makes satellites now.

This flag flies over the Yamalsky district, near the Arctic ocean. And get this: the antlers of the deer (an important animal for the indigenous population) are flames, a nod to the region’s massive gas fields.

The flag of Yakutsk is kinda lame, but its coat of arms is thankfully different, showing a fierce eagle holding a proud sable. That’s one of the more historical ones too, as it was first approved by Catherine II in 1790. The Soviet era was a rough one however.

Vovchansk, Sverdlovsk region. The rodent is cute. There’s a neat detail too: the 3 stars represent the district’s 3 places by order of size (1 city, 1 village, 1 small village). Except… the smallest village actually had a population of 0 and officially disappeared 2 months ago.

The Domnovskoye rural settlement in the Kaliningrad region doesn’t mess around, with a single, badass eagle paw. The explanation for the flag’s meaning is very long, though they admit the flag is based on an old seal whose meaning was lost.

Probably the fanciest one of the bunch. The A is for the river Akhtuba, after which the district – called Sredneakhtubinsky, in the Volgograd region – is named. The cranes are for “cheerfulness and love,” and the crown symbolizes the region’s wealth.

Next up is this incredibly cute mammoth on the flag of Srednekolymsk, a small city 5,300 km East of Moscow (and 1,700 km West of Alaska) in a region where frozen mammoths are regularly found.

Welcome to the rural settlement of Syaskelevskoe, in the Leningrad region (next to Saint Petersburg), inhabited by about 5,000 people. The flag is based on the coat of arms of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whose estate was located there.

Not sure if ammonites qualify as animals but I just love how clean this flag is. It flies over the Ulianov district in the Ulianov region (named after Vladimir Ulianov, better known as Lenin, who was born there). It’s one of the rare not to have it’s own dedicated Wikipedia page so I can’t give you the official meaning, but I know locals often find such fossils on the shores of the Volga, so that may be it. Side note: it’s funny how often the Wikipedia page for a given regional flag is bigger than the page for the locality the flag is from.

More fanciness. The flag of Palekh, in the Ivanovo region (not far from Moscow), depicts the firebird, a staple of Slavic folklore that is said to have originated from that city.

Meanwhile, in the district of Khoroshyovo-Mnyovniki of Moscow, this is happening.

Speaking of folklore, the coat of arms for the district of Mogocha shows the Dyabdar, a giant winged snake that is part of the mythology of the Evenks people. Mogocha is 80km north of the Chinese border and Evenks are present in China, Russia and Mongolia.

Bears are unsurprisingly a very common theme in Russian regional flags. I have a weakness for the bear carrying a Bible on the flag of Perm, near the Urals. He looks so happy.

Don’t forget Vladimirskaya Oblast where communism and monarchy crown peacefully live together.

Welcome to Shukino. Home of the Kurchatov institute, and pike.

Kursk has a boring flag, but birds are animals too.

Just look at this cat on the flag of Pskov.

Redesigned flag of Irkutsk is weird.

The flag of Tomsk region looks kinda boring compared to the atomic bear. Although this red eyed horse reminds of the rabbit from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

Nizhny Novgorod has a great one.

I have always liked the fancy golden-hooved moose of Yoshkar Ola, home of the Mari people.

Vykhino-Zhulebino District of Moscow.

Kazan and its… animal.

This is the flag of the city of Norilsk. The H on the key is russian N, and is the first letter of city’s name, each circle of the key means one of the ores that are mined on territory: copper, nickel and cobalt.


Mari El Republic is a clear winner: a bloody bear with a bloody sword.

Krasnoyarsk, the center of Siberia.

This coat of arms of the Tyumen region.

And this is Chelyabinsk region (Ural) flag: not a bear, but a camel.

Pirovsky District Krasnoyarsk Krai.

via French journalist Fabrice Deprez

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