Lord of the Rings enthusiasts are having a field day after Russian President President Vladimir Putin gifted special gold rings to eight leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
These are Moscow-allied leaders of post-Soviet countries. They received golden rings during a summit that took place in St Petersburg on Monday and Tuesday.
The rings are engraved with the CIS symbol and bare the inscription "Happy New Year 2023" and a smaller inscription "Russia".
The Holders of the Rings
The leaders who have been bestowed with the special rings are:
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan
President Sadyr Zhaparov of Kyrgyzstan
President Emomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan
President Serdar Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia
Putin is the holder of the ninth ring. Only Lukashenko was pictured wearing the ring.
Rings of Powerlessness
Ekaterina Schulmann, a prominent political scientist, believes the allusion to the epic fantasy trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien was intentional. She said the gifting of the rings looks like a "fever dream" and done deliberately.
Yulia Latynina, a political commentator, called the gifts "rings of powerlessness", referring to Putin's growing international isolation over his special operations in Ukraine. She said every state whose ruler puts on this ring will turn into darkness ruled by a madman. "I think Putin will wear the ring alone. And not for long." Ukrainian politician Oleksiy Goncharenko believes Putin got tired of being the Hilter of the 21st century and decided to play Lord of the Rings.
In J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings the "nine rings" were made with the other Rings of Power in Eregion. The owners of the "Nine" were corrupted, amassing glory and riches and becoming great among men. They had the ability to become invisible and their lives were extended unnaturally until they fell at last to the power of the "One Ring" held by Sauron. They became part of the wraith-world, permanently invisible and were enslaved by Sauron.