100858 | GERMANY, RUSSIA & LATVIA. Satirical cast bronze Medal.
100858 | GERMANY, RUSSIA & LATVIA. Satirical cast bronze Medal. Issued 1917. The fall of Riga to Germany (56mm, 54.52 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München.
RIGA 1917, Russian bear lying on its back right, pierced by sword and wounded by the internal and external conflicts of 1914–1917, indicated on each limb / DER / FLÜGELSCHLAG / DER ZEIT (the wingspan of time), hourglass, indicating time has expired, held by scythe; chaotic revolutionary forces below. Edge: Plain.
Kienast 195; Jones, Dance of Death, 39; Böttcher Coll. 5527. Virtually as cast, pleasing light brown surfaces. Scarce.
Owing to its strategic position on the Gulf of Riga, the gulf's namesake city was of vital interest to its controlling Russian forces as well as those of the German Empire, who looked at it as a way to control the Baltic scene. If Germany were able to seize Riga, troops stationed near there could be then redeployed to the western front and France, where Germany believed the war would ultimately be decided. The battle was fought over three days at the beginning of September in 1917, with Germany eventually being victorious and capturing Riga, though the Russian 12th Army was able to escape and retreat. Internally, Russia herself was in turmoil, with Czar Nicholai II and the Romanov ruling family overthrown in February of that year and, just two months after the fall of Riga, the Bolshevik Revolution ("October" Uprising) would occur, sparking Russia's eventually fall to the hands of the Soviets. As indicated by Goetz on this medal, the Russian bear was bearing the wounds of years worth of internal and external conflicts.