05/26/2023. The mythical Liberty Frigate was immortalized on the Russian bill of 500 rubles. The inclusion of the image on Russian banknotes has sparked controversy as it is known as a “boat” rather than an Argentine sailboat, despite the fact that it has never been in a Russian port. In 2017, the image was replaced by the one of Pyatigorsk, however, the freedom of sailing banknotes remains legal tender.
BUENOS AIRES.- The frigate ARA Libertad (Q-2), also known as the Libertad frigate, plays a fundamental role in the professional training of medium ships in the Argentine Navy. This ship, designed and built by Argentines, has traveled the seas of the world since 1963, fulfilling its mission to increase the maritime knowledge of young sailors and integrate them to life at sea.
The magnificent trajectory of the Libertad sail has visited 58 countries and more than 400 foreign ports, becoming a representative symbol of the Argentine Navy. But one of the most curious things in history is its immortalization on Russian banknotes several decades ago.
The story goes back to 1997, when the artist Igor Krylkov was commissioned by the Central Bank of Russia to design the new 500,000 ruble notes, in the midst of hyperinflation. The main requirement was that the highest denomination banknotes had to express the port of Arkhangelisk, a major port in Archangel, Russia. To create the image, Krylkov relied on local photography. But the result was not aesthetically satisfying, and the Central Bank of Russia requested a modification.
At the request to change the image, the artist decided to place the plume of steam in the harbor landscape with something “traditional”. Then he turned the ship into the ship Libertad. “The last time the Central Bank said that the steamer is a common concept for banks. I urgently found a photo with that boat (yes) and redraw it,” Krylkov told Russian media.
This decision led to the unexpected freedom of sailing to become a controversial item on Russian banknotes. The project is known as a “ship” and not as an Argentine sailboat, despite the fact that the ship has never been in a Russian port. Although the issues remained controversial, the design remained on the 500,000 ruble note until 2017, when the image of the city of Pyatigorsk was replaced. But it should be noted that the ticket with the Libertad sail is still tender.
The presence of the sailing ship ARA Libertad on Russian banknotes has added an interesting chapter to the history of this ship and generated a unique connection between Argentina and Russia. Beyond the controversies, the ship Libertad continues to fulfill its role as the ship of the Argentine navy, training new generations of sailors and representing the country’s naval pride and excellence.