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Published September 24, 2022 Updated September 24, 2022

Komandirskie [Commanders]

‘Komandirskie’ military-themed playing cards from Russia, 1997.

1997 Russia Colour Printing Plant S. Zaitsev Military Patriotic Add to Collection
‘Komandirskie’ military-themed playing cards, Russia, 1997

This military pack extols the bravery and patriotism of the Russian armed forces. The suits (both court and pip cards) portray officers and equipment from different areas of the Russian forces. Hearts show the tank service; Clubs similarly portray the air force; Spades the naval service and Diamonds the anti-aircraft or rocket / missile service.

Although published in 1997, several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the card backs show the hammer and sickle, while this same symbol appears in two of the military emblems. The 2 extra cards proclaim: “Honour and praise to all the veterans of the armed forces for their valour and courage” and “We glorify the legendary patriotic military technology and are confident the tradition of its creation will continue”. Produced in St. Petersburg by the Colour Printing Plant, the authors of the pack are; S. Spirov, I. Ovchinnikov and V. Volkov. The artist is S. Zaitsev. See the box

‘Komandirskie’ military-themed playing cards, Russia, 1997 ‘Komandirskie’ military-themed playing cards, Russia, 1997

Above: ‘Komandirskie’ military-themed playing cards produced in St. Petersburg by the Colour Printing Plant, 1997. 52 cards + 2 jokers + 2 further cards in box.

The 2 extra cards proclaim: “Honour and praise to all the veterans of the armed forces for their valour and courage” and “We glorify the legendary patriotic military technology and are confident the tradition of its creation will continue”.

‘Komandirskie’ military-themed playing cards, Russia, 1997
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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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