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Архангельская область


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Arkhangelsk Oblast (Архангельская область) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). It includes the Arctic archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, as well as the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea. Arkhangelsk Oblast also has administrative jurisdiction over Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Including Nenetsia, Arkhangelsk Oblast has an area of 587,400 km2. Its population (including Nenetsia) was 1,227,626 as of the 2010 Census


The area of Arkhangelsk Oblast has been settled by Finno-Ugric peoples since prehistoric times, and most of the toponyms in the region are in fact Finno-Ugric. In the time of the Vikings, the area around the current city was known as Bjarmaland. It was subsequently colonized by the Novgorod Republic. Kargopol was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1146, Shenkursk was mentioned in 1315, and Solvychegodsk was founded in the 14th century. By the 13th century the Novgorodian merchants had already reached the White Sea, attracted to the area for fur trading. The Novgorodians penetrated the area using the waterways, and this is why most of the ancient (as well as the modern) settlements were located into the main river valleys. The main historical areas of the Arkhangelsk region were Poonezhye (Поонежье) along the Onega, the Dvina Land along the Northern Dvina, Pinezhye (Пинежье) along the Pinega, Mezen Lands along the Mezen, and Pomorye (Поморье) on the White Sea coast. The main waterway was the Northern Dvina, and Novgorod merchants used the Volga and its tributary, the Sheksna, along the Slavyanka River into Lake Nikolskoye, then the boats were taken by land to Lake Blagoveshchenskoye, from there downstream along the Porozovitsa River into Lake Kubenskoye and further to the Sukhona and the Northern Dvina. Portages from the Northern Dvina Basin led further to the Mezen and the Pechora.

After the fall of Novgorod in 1478, all these lands became a part of the Great Duchy of Moscow.

In 1581, Russia lost access to the Baltic Sea in the Livonian War (1558-1583). In that year, a mercenary army from Sweden took over the strategic city of Narva under Pontus de la Gardie. The Russians were forced to look at the White Sea as an alternative.

Initially, the trading activities were concentrated directly on the coast where one of the branches of the Dvina flows into the White Sea. Danish ships tried to prevent trade via the White Sea. Denmark saw the revenues of the Sonttol fall and tried to block the alternative trade route. At the end of 1570, Denmark banned trade via the White Sea, but trade was permitted in the early 1980s, provided the skipper had a Danish pass for a substantial payment. Danish warships were active in the White Sea to collect this tax and to combat smuggling. In 1582, five Dutch ships were docked by Denmark.

In 1582 a Dutch merchantman sailed up the Dvina to dodge Danish warships After 35 kilometers the ship arrived at the Saint Michael monastery. The small monastery, made of wood and with cells for the abbot and 13 monks, was located where the Dvina branches off. It was a good place for a harbor. A request to the tsar to be allowed to build a port was quickly approved. On 4 March 1583, Ivan the Terrible gave permission to build a fortress, and it was finished in the following summer.

Archangelsk, named after the Archangel Michael, was then officially founded in 1584 by Ivan the Terrible. It was the only Russian exit to the sea at the time. For more than a century it was Russia's main merchant harbor, where English and Scottish traders initially dominated, who were soon relieved by the Dutch. In 1584, Melchior de Moucheron set up a factory at the monastery dedicated to Archangel Michael during a trade trip organized by his brother Balthazar and Olivier Brunel.


Location of S. Michael on a map of Jan Huygen van Linschoten, 1601 [1]

With the arms of Balthasar de Moucheron [2]


Архангелогородская губерния



In the Great Nordic War (1700-1721), Russia competed with Sweden for power in the Baltic Sea. The port of Archangelsk grew rapidly, many ships with commercial and military cargo called at the port. To protect the city, Novodvinsk Fort was built in 1701, downstream of the city. In 1702 the Dutch-Norwegian admiral Cornelis Cruys was sent by Peter the Great to Archangelsk to turn it into a naval port. Sailing routes were determined, a lighthouse was built and the harbor was given docks to facilitate the loading and unloading of ships.


Russian colour taken at the battle of Narva 1700.

Coll. Armémuseum Stockholm


Showing St. Michael (Михаилъ), the Virgin Mary, Christ and a sun and a moon with stars


Archangelgorod Governorate (Архангелогородская губерния, Arkhangelogorodskaya guber-niya), or the Governorate of Archangelgorod, was an administrative division (a guberniya) of the Tsardom of Russia and then the Russian Empire, which was established by Tsar Peter the Great and existed from 1708 until 1780. Its capital was the city of Arkhangelsk


On the regimental banners of 1710-1712, the Arkhangelsk emblem was an image of a rider on a winged horse, spearing a serpent.


Peter the Great indirectly caused St. Petersburg, founded by him, on the Baltic Sea, to displace Archangelsk as a trading port. In 1721 the Nordic War had come to an end. Saint Petersburg had been founded in the meantime and Peter the Great decided that all trade should go through this city.


In 1730 its coat of arms showed the Archangel Michael attacking a black devil at his feet with a red flaming sword.

Coat of arms of Arkhangelsk, 1730


St. Michael with sword and red shield, a devil (Charles XII of Sweden †1718 ?) added.


In the work of Khariton Chebotaryov, "A geographical methodological description of the Russian Empire, with a proper introduction to a thorough knowledge of the globe and Europe in general, for the instruction of a student from the imperial Moscow University of youth from the best new and reliable writers, collected by the works of the university pet Khariton Chebotaryov" ("Географическое методическое описание Российской империи, с надлежащим введением к основательному познанию земного шара и Европы вообще, для наставления обучающего при императорском Московском Университете юношества из лучших новейших и достоверных писателей, собранное трудами университетского питомца Харитона Чеботарева") publication of Moscow University 1776) a description is given of the coat of arms of the Arkhangelogorod province on p. 218:



(The coat of arms of the Arkhangelsk Governorate: on a red field of the background of the shield is an orb with an arm in armor stretching out from the clouds, holding up a drawn sword).


No coat of arms for Vologda province is given in this work (p. 216)


Волого́дское наме́стничество



In 1780 Arkhangelsk Governorate (Архангелцкой губернıй) was included in the Vologda governorship, but in 1784 the latter was renamed Arkhangelsk governorship (Архангельское наместничество).


On 2 October 1780 the coat of arms of Arkhangelsk governorate was adopted for Vologda Governorate:

The blasoning now reads:

Coat of arms of the Vologodskoj governorate: In a red field coming out of a bunch of clouds holding a golden orb with a silver sword (old coat of arms).


And a year later,  on 2 October 1781, the coat of arms of Arkhangelsk Governorate was (re)-adopted .

From: Винклеръ, П.П. фонъ: Гербъ городовъ, губернıй областей и посадовъ российской импеперıй. С.-Петербургъ, 1899  Pp. 5, 33


Архангельское наместничество



In 1784 Vologda vice royalty was renamed Arkhangelsk vice royalty (Архангельское наместничество).


At the end of the 18th century, the coat of arms of Arkhangelsk was used as a viceregal coat of arms. For example, in the publication “Image of Provincial, Viceroyalty, College and All Civilian Uniforms” (1794) ("Изображение губернских, наместнических, коллежских и всех штатских мундиров")  [3]


The viceroy of Arkhangelsk and his coat of arms, 1794


His official dress of a red vest and trousers, white stockings and a blue cloak with red collar. Black cocked hat and shoes.


A description of the coat of arms of the Arkhangelsk governorate is given as follows


Arms, in the golden field of the shield is a flying Archangel, armed with a fiery sword and shield, and defeating the devil.”


The text about Arkhangelsk and Vologda  in “ Image of Provincial etc.”  1794


In 1796, the Vice Royalty was transformed into the Arkhangelsk Governorate (Архангельскую губернию).


Архангельскую губернию



A coat of arms for the governorate was re-adopted  on 5 July 1878.


Герб Архангельской губернии Российской империи. Утвержден 5 июля 1878 г. Описание герба: "В золотом щите Святой Архистратиг Михаил в лазуревом вооружении, с червленым пламенеющим мечом и с лазуревым щитом, украшенным золотым крестом, попирающий черного лежащего дьявола. Щит увенчан Императорскою короною и окружен золотыми дубовыми листьями, соединенными Андреевскою лентою"  [4]


From: Винклеръ, П.П. фонъ: Гербъ городовъ, губернıй областей и посадовъ российской импеперıй. С.-Петербургъ, 1899.


In 1918 and 1919, Arkhangelsk Governorate became one of the most active battlegrounds of the Civil War in Russia. On 2 August 1918, Arkhangelsk was occupied by British and American troops, allied with the White movement. Administratively, they established Northern Oblast with the center in Arkhangelsk. This episode of the Civil War is known as North Russia Intervention. The troops advanced to the south, occupied the station of Obozerskaya in September 1918, and moving along the Northern Dvina and the Vaga Rivers. The southernmost points occupied by the allies were Shenkursk and Verkhnyaya Toyma. The allies were hoping that the Aleksandr Kolchak's forces would move in the direction of Kotlas, however, the White Army was unable to advance in this direction. In January 1919, after the Battle of Shenkursk, the allied forces were driven out of the Shenkursk area. Battles around the station of Plesetskaya followed. On 20 February 1920, the Red Army entered Arkhangelsk. By that time, all allied troops were already evacuated.


In the spring and summer of 1918, the Allied Intervention Forces (French, American, British, and Italian troops) landed in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk.

On 2 August the "Supreme Administration of the Northern Region" (SANR) was created under the leadership of Nikolai Tchaikovsky. The capital of the Northern region was Murmansk On 6 September 1918, members of the government were arrested by Captain G. Chaplin, commander of the Russian military units in the Northern Region. On 28 September 1918 Tchaikovsky organized the "Provisional Government of the Northern Region" (PGNR).

Stamp of the Northern Region, 1918

With the arms of the empire


On 30  April 1919 PGNR recognized the supreme power of Admiral Kolchak.

Russian eagle on a 1 ruble bank note, 1919

With the arms of the Republic


7 February 1920, Kolchak was made the chief of the northern region, General Eugene Miller headed the so-called “Zemstvo-city meeting.” It lasted until 7 March 1920,


In the late 1920ties the All-Russian Central Executive Committee refused to approve the names Stalinport for Arkhangelsk and Stalin for Chrysostom (already adopted by the local authorities).


Legally, the Arkhangelsk Governorate lasted until 1929. On 14 January 1929, the Northern Territory was formed from the Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Severodvinsk Governorates and the autonomous region of Komi (Zyryan). After the 8th Extraordinary Congress of Soviets of the USSR was adopted on 5 December 1936, the Northern Territory was abolished in accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution, and the Northern Region and the Komi ASSR were formed on its territory.

On 23 September 1937 the Northern region was divided into the Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Vologda Oblast The modern Arkhangelsk Oblast was formed on 23 September 1937.

In fact, since the beginning of the 1990s, the coat of arms of the Arkhangelsk province was used in the decoration of events.


Архангельской области



Arkhangelsk Oblast proper was established in 1937. Until 1991, the high authority in the oblast was shared between three persons: The first secretary of the Arkhangelsk Oblast CPSU Committee (who in reality had the biggest authority), the chairman of the oblast Soviet (legislative power), and the Chairman of the oblast Executive Committee (executive power). In 1991 the CPSU lost all power. The head of the Oblast administration, and eventually the governor, came to be elected or appointed.


In 1989 it was allowed to adopt a coat of arms for the oblast and a few projects were presented  but in the end, after some discussion, the ancient arms were restored.


Coat of arms of Arkhangelsk as proposed in 1989.


Coat of arms of Arkhangelsk 10.10.1989/27.05.1998 [5]


Initially the ancient arms were restored inofficially in 1989. For a new coat of arms a fierce discussion broke out in 1996. A majority of the members of parliament was of the opinion that the devil was an insult to the Russian Orthodox Church and therefore should be left out resulting in a coat of arms showing only St, Michael.

On 15 October 1996, the decree of the Head of the regional administration No. 661r “On the competition for the design of the coat of arms, flag and anthem of the Arkhangelsk region”  was followed.


This was rejected by governor Anatoli Yefremov (1996-2004) who refused to sign the act. In the next seven years the discussion continued. It came to an end in 2003 when the arms of 1878 were restored unchanged .[6]



Современный герб города Архангельска - "В золотом поле щита изображен летящий архангел в синем одеянии с огненным мечом и щитом, побеждающий черного дьявола". Летящий архангел в синем одеянии с огненным мечом и щитом символизирует русское воинство, победу сил добра над силами зла. Черный дьявол олицетворяет неприятеля, зло, которое будет побеждено. Герб имеет декоративное обрамление.


Granted on 2 October 1781, together with other emblems of the cities of the Vologda governorate (PSZ RI No. 15069); restored by decision of the 11th session of the Arkhangelsk City Council on 10 October 1989; reapproved by Decision of the Arkhangelsk City Council of Deputies No. 229 of 27 May 1998 “ On approval of the Regulation on the coat of arms of the city of Arkhangelsk.”


In 1996 a new design for the regional coat of arms was presented by the heraldist M. Shelkovenko.  Its main innovations were a seven-pointed crown, two supporters standing on some foliage and the adding of the ribbon of the Order of Lenin.  This also was rejected. It was:

Design of M. Shelkovenko, 15.10.1996


According to the recommendations of the Presidential Council under the President of the Russian Federation M.Shelkovenko crowned the coat of arms with a crown similar to the crowns from the “Signed Stamp” of 1730. As M. Shelkovenko wrote: "... the Arkhangelsk region has the right to a gold crown with seven visible points, of which five are in the front row. Some characteristics can be given to the crown that reflect the natural, historical, cultural or economic features of the region. In the proposed project the middle point is decorated at the top with an eight-pointed star symbolizing the North Star (we can also talk about a guiding star), as well as the northern (midnight) geographical location of the region. The crown diadem is decorated with a characteristic wave-like ornament  (meander), The coat of arms project is also supplemented with a ribbon of the Order of Lenin, which the region was awarded in 1967. Supporters: a white bear (Ursus maritimus – Ursidae) with an anchor (of shipping) and a brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos – Ursidæ)  with an axe (of timber trade).

Order of Lenin


Герб Архангельской области

Дата принятия: 15.07.2003



Герб Архангельской области представляет собой четырехугольный, с закругленными нижними углами, заостренный в оконечности золотой щит. В золотом щите - Святой Архистратиг Михаил в лазоревых (синих, голубых) доспехах и в червленых (красных) сапогах, держащий червленый пламенеющий меч острием книзу и лазоревый щит, который украшен золотым крестом (сообразно щиту) и имеет лазоревую кайму, и попирающий черного опрокинутого головой влево ангела тьмы. Щит увенчан императорской короной и окружен золотыми дубовыми листьями, соединенными Андреевской лентой.


Arms of Arkhangelsk Oblast

Adopted 15.07.2003



The coat of arms of the Arkhangelsk region is quadrangular, with rounded lower corners, a gold shield pointed at the tip. In the golden shield is the Holy Archangel Michael in azure (blue,) armor and in scarlet (red) boots, holding a scarlet flaming sword with its point pointed down and an azure shield, which is decorated with a golden cross (in accordance with the shield) and has an azure border, and trampling the black tilting over head to the left of the angel of darkness. The shield is crowned with the imperial crown and is surrounded by golden oak leaves connected by the St. Andrew ribbon. [7]


See Æ illustration in the head of this article.


Police MVD



Larger emblem:

In a golden shield (of the established form for the territorial bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) there are figures of the coat of arms of the Archangelsk Oblast. The shield is crowned with the heraldic badge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Under the shield on a fluttering blue motto ribbon there is an inscription in gold letters: “SERVICE OF RUSSIA, SERVICE OF THE LAW”.

Breastplate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Arkhangelsk region

Breast Badge:

In a yellow shield (of the established form for the territorial bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) there are figures of the coat of arms of the Archangelsk Region. Around the shield, in the shape of a triangular shield, there is a blue ribbon with a golden inscription: “SERVICE OF RUSSIA, SERVICE OF THE LAW”. On top of the ribbon is crowned with the heraldic badge of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs of golden color. Sign size 46x30 mm [8]



Архангельска Министерство Внутренних Дел

Riot Police


Special Rapid Response Squad (SOBR) in the Arkhangelsk region

Larger emblem:


A shield decided for the emblems of the OMSN units, with gold bordering and additional ornaments in the form of an overhead figure above the shield, the motto of the ribbon under the shield and the naked sword tilted to the right with the hilt. In the golden shield of the emblem is the Holy Archangel Michael, in blue armor, red boots, holding a red flaming sword, and a blue shield, decorated with a golden cross and a white border, trampling a black angel with a head tilted to the left to the left. The heraldic insignia of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia acts as the head figure. On the fluttering mottled motto ribbon there is an inscription in silver letters: "LAW, HONOR, COURAGE".



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 © Hubert de Vries 2019-10-30




[1] https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Huygen_van_Linschoten#/media/Bestand:Linschotens_nordenkart,_1601_(12067624705).jpg.  .

[2] The arms are: Quarterly: 1&4. Argent, a  fler de lys Azure parted by a crescent Gules and a bordure indented/engrailed; 2&3: Sable, a chevron between three sheafs of wheat 2 and 1 Argent. https://www.wazamar.org/Familiewapens-in-de-Nederlanden/Familiewapens/hist-famwpn/hs-24.htm

[3] http://elib.shpl.ru/ru/nodes/524-izobrazhenie-gubernskih-namestnicheskih-kollezhskih-i-vseh-shtatskih-mundirov-spb-1794

[4] https://bessmertnybarak.ru/article/gerby_rossiyskoy_imperii/

[5] https://geraldika.ru/symbols/497

[6] De Volkskrant, 22.07.2003, p. 16

[7] http://www.heraldicum.ru/russia/subjects/arhangel.htm

[8] https://geraldika.ru/symbols/4233


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