MOSCOW, USSR (EP) – In yet another display of “glasnost,” or “openness,” the Soviet Union will begin distribution of a gold coin commemorating the millennium since Christianity reached Russia and became the religion of the state.
The commemorative coin is “physical evidence” of glasnost, said Luis Vigdor, executive vice president of MTB Banking Corporation, a New York dealer that will serve as the coin’s only U.S. distributor. “It’s bizarre for the Soviets to come out with a coin celebrating religion,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The one-ounce coin depicts Vladimir I, who introduced Christianity in Rus in 988, holding a large cross. The coin will be issued in various metals, including palladium, gold, silver, and platinum. The palladium issue will cost about $220. The gold coins will not be available in the U.S. because imports of Russian gold coins, along with the South African krugerand, were banned by the U.S. in 1985.