We’ll keep the red flag flying here

So, we’re watching the latest episode of Shadowhunters last night and when the action moves to Siberia we’re surprised to see a red flag flying. My first thought is ‘Don’t the Americans realize that Russia isn’t the Soviet Union anymore?’ And then my second thought is, ‘And, anyway, the flag’s flying back to front’. But then I look closer and see that it’s not quite the Soviet flag, as there’s a yellow circle around the hammer and sickle, which I think is meant to depict two sheaves of wheat. The only reference to such a flag I’ve been able to find is on a website called ‘incorrect depictions of the Soviet flag’. Would anybody care to tell me if there is such a flag, why the director of Shadowhunters might imagine it to be flying in modern day Siberia, and why it’s flying back to front? Is it a clever way of indicating to those in the know that the action isn’t taking place in our version of reality?  Or is it just what some people like to call an ‘epic fail’? Let know what you think.

red flag

17 thoughts on “We’ll keep the red flag flying here”

    1. Not sure, if I understand. Had to look up Shadowfighter.

      I tended to be a “materialist” in literature thus some type authenticity fanatic in stage props, I guess I might be in film scenery, but does it make sense in fantasy? I wonder? …

      I may get something wrong here, but in that context, I guess I might come up with hard choices? No idea about Shadowfighter? Anything i misunderstand? What would be the Siberia episode? And how would it fit into the larger story?


      1. Depends on how much your fantasy world is *supposed* to be rooted in Earth and Earth’s history. Unless the existence of demons, werewolves, vampires, etc. has fundamentally changed the course of world events (in this case, preserving the USSR or the flag or creating a new Siberian state), and this is acknowledged in the series, I see no reason the modern Russian tricolor shouldn’t be flying.

        Okay, so there are other reasons:
        a) Some set designer is giving a subtle middle finger to the lazy representation of Russia in action serials.
        b) Shadowhunters takes place in an alternate universe on a kinda-sorta-Earth, in which case the flags might be off.
        But I don’t watch Shadowhunters and have no plans to, so I dunno.


      2. I *may* have also assumed, based upon Irrussianality’s general content, that Shadowhunters was one of those paint-by-numbers current-events-lipservice “special ops” action series, so disregard my original “too much wrong” comment!


      3. Unless the existence of demons, werewolves, vampires, etc.
        well we may have shifted to more human antagonists outside fantasy. Ever looked into the history and/or both academic and more popular literature on psychopaths outside fiction. Thus in true solid science? Irony Alert.

        there must be a path from the wolf to the werewolf somewhere hidden in history. 😉


    1. TV show based on the teen fiction series ‘The Mortal Instruments’, involving a group of young demon hunters.


  1. The red flag is sometimes flown privately by Soviet nostalgists. But it’s the standard variety, with the hammer-and-sickle and star at hoist side and no wreath. More rarely, you can see a so-called “transferable red banner” (переходящее красное знамя), but their design is completely different: all emblematic elements in them are in (or at least near) the center of the flag; there are inscriptions, such as names of organizations and communist slogans. A hammer-and-sickle within a wreath might only be seen in a state emblem of the USSR or of a member republic. Transferable red banners often featured state emblems, but always the whole thing, meticulously embroidered, with the rising sun, decorative ribbons, mottoes and all (here’s an example: https://mmedia.ozone.ru/multimedia/soft_other/1012407404.JPG). The simplified design as seen in your picture is purely a Hollywood fiction.


  2. On the second look, this “Soviet” flag does resemble somethig I’ve seen previously:

    From the “Cogs and Commissars” tabletop game. Which means one thing – in that universe Revolution had been robotized and successfully rebooted the society! Слава Роботам!


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