On November 30, 1993, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the double-headed eagle was adopted as the official seal of Russia.
The current coat of arms was directly derived from its medieval origin. The eagle, whose two heads face east and west, first appeared as the symbol of the Moscow State during the reign of Ivan III, who married Zoe Paleolog, whose uncle Constantine had been the last Byzantine Emperor. The two-headed eagle (the emblem of Byzantium) was united with the Moscow coat of arms, with the result that one side of the emblem showed the eagle and the other a horseman slaying a dragon.
Throughout the course of time, more changes were added to the emblem. Ivan IV the Terrible added the image of Saint George (symbol of Moscow princes) to the eagle's chest. Under the reign of Mikhail Fedorovich, three crowns appeared over the eagle's head. Following the establishment of the Order of St. Andrew by Peter I, the coat of arms began to feature a chain bearing the sign of the Order. Under Pavel I, the image of the Maltese Cross was also introduced into the coat of arms.
During the reign of Alexander II, the coat of arms was modified and its design brought in line with international heraldic rules. In 1882, a strict hierarchy of the coat of arms was introduced: there were to be the Greater, Medium, and Smaller state coat of arms of the Russian Empire.
Up until the 1917 Russian Revolution, the coat of arms remained almost the same. When the Bolsheviks seized the Kremlin, pre-revolutionary symbols were publicly burned at Red Square. On November, 10 of that year, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars passed the decree “On Abolishing the Estates and Civil Ranks” – which abolished the Russian signs of distinction, orders, flag and coat of arms. After 1937, with the advent of Joseph Stalin coming to power, the eagles from the towers of the Kremlin were also replaced with stars.
In 1990, the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) Government decided to institute the National Coat of Arms and National Flag of the RSFSR. A government commission was set up to organize the task. After a detailed discussion, the commission suggested to the government a white-blue-red flag and a coat of arms depicting a golden two-headed eagle against a red background. The final restoration of these symbols took place in 1993, when then-President Boris Yeltsin approved them as the national flag and the national coat of arms.
The current Russian coat of arms was instated by a Federal Law signed by then-President Vladimir Putin in December 2000.