The presentation of the eight rings by Russia’s president to former leaders of the Moscow-aligned Soviet Union has prompted many interpretations, from Vladimir Putin’s intentions to references to “Lord of the Rings.”
On the sidelines of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin this Tuesday presented its allies with nine gold rings with the inscription “Happy New Year 2023” and the symbol of the CIS.
The ring has been presented to eight current foreign heads of state (Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan) and Vladimir Putin.
Soon researchers and commentators began to draw parallels with JRR Tolkien’s work “The Lord of the Rings”, where the master of evil, Sauron, gives the nine rings to human rulers, who later become his servants, the “Naskals”.
The only difference in the book is that Sauron secretly creates an additional ring, the Ring of Power, which allows him to control everything else.
Critics of the Kremlin, especially in Ukraine, compare Vladimir Putin to Golem, a figure corrupted by the ring of power, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Frodo, who decides to destroy the ring.
After the Kremlin’s attack on Ukraine, the Ukrainian government compared Russia to “Mordor”, Sauron’s kingdom, and Russian soldiers to “Orcs”, Sauron’s soldiers.
Russian political scientist Ekaterina Shulman believes that these nine rings are a visible “joke” of the “conscious” Kremlin.
The CIS symbol on the rings, Shulman explained via the Telegram social network, is reminiscent of the “Eye of Sauron” depicted in the film adaptation of Tolkien’s works.
On Russian radio Kommersant FM, journalist Dmitry Dries pointed out that the idea of a “ring society” among the nine leaders “is not part of the reality based on the current circumstances.”
Also, important differences separate the leaders of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, with opposing views on the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Dmitry Dries also pointed out that only Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, one of Vladimir Putin’s few definite allies in the attack in Ukraine, was seen with a small ring on his finger.
On Tuesday night, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tried to narrow down the explanations.
“It’s a New Year’s souvenir, nothing special,” he underlined, adding that Vladimir Putin would not wear his gold ring.