.......Archangel .......

Heraldic Argument in Russia
Location of Archangel
Civic arms of Archangel
For centuries before communism replaced it with the hammer and sickle, the northern city of Archangel (Arkhangelsk) bore as its civic arms a representation of the Archangel Michael overcoming the Devil. Legend insists that this victory occurred at the place where Archangel now stands, and that since then the Archangel Michael has stood guard over the city to ensure the Devil does not return.
With the fall of communism the people of Archangel, as in also most other Russian cities, hastened to readopt their ancient arms, but surprisingly this created serious conflict between the traditionalists and the superstitious. The presence of the Devil on the shield, it was claimed, would have calamitous consequences, and so the regional parliament voted to ban the Devil and to have only Michael on the arms.
Anatoly Yefremov, the regional Governor, then joined the argument. The Devil, he said, must be included with Michael to represent the victory of Heaven over the power of Evil. This intervention was followed by another vote in parliament which reversed the earlier decision as the majority of representatives swung behind the Governor, but it has not ended the debate. Parliamentary democracy cannot overcome superstition.

© 2003 The Baronage Press and Pegasus Associates Ltd