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Fashion historian reveals the secret meaning of Nabiullina brooches



The head of the Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, at her press conferences held on average once a month and dedicated to the regulator’s decision on key rates, wears different brooches, which are believed to symbolize the current situation in the economy. She herself does not reveal their meaning and believes that if she explains, “it will be boring enough.” On December 18, at the last meeting in 2020, the Central Bank kept the rate at 4.25%. The head of the Bank of Russia appeared at a press conference with a brooch in the shape of a bullfinch. Perhaps it symbolizes the arrival of winter or a prolonged freeze of the key rate. A brief history of Elvira Nabiullina’s press conferences, bets and brooches is as follows. On February 7, 2020, the rate was lowered to 6%. At the conference, the head of the Central Bank appeared with a brooch in the shape of a bird, resembling a stork or a white swan. On March 20, for a briefing on the situation with the falling Russian ruble, the head of the Central Bank put on a tumbler-shaped brooch on the lapel of his jacket. The Central Bank’s Board of Directors kept the key rate at 6%. On April 24, during the pandemic and the self-isolation regime, Nabiullina appeared with a brooch in the form of a house. At the meeting, the Board of Directors of the Central Bank cut the rate to 5.5%. The house brooch on June 19 was followed by a dove brooch. This bird symbolizes peace and in the financial market denotes supporters of easing monetary policy. The rate then dropped to 4.5% on July 24, when the Central Bank lowered the key rate to 4.25% per annum, two brooches appeared on the lapel of Nabiullina’s jacket: in the form of the Latin letter V and in the shape of a golden horseshoe. Observers saw this as a hint of economic recovery. On August 8, a brooch in the form of a pause sign was demonstrated. The Bank of Russia left the key rate unchanged. On October 23, the Central Bank left the key rate at 4.25% for the second time in a row. The head of the Central Bank appeared at a press conference with a brooch in the form of a wave. Some saw this as a symbol of the wave-like recovery of the Russian economy, others – the waves of the spread of COVID-19. How can you evaluate this peculiar conversation of the country’s chief banker with the market in the language of brooches? With this question, “MK” turned to experts – a specialist in the field of fashion and professional analyst. Zhannat IDRISOVA stylist-image maker, fashion historian: “Nabiullina is literate in terms of image. Once at a personal meeting with Putin, when a problematic issue was discussed, she looked pale, sleepy, age. The image worked and aroused the loyalty of the president. She actively uses brooches and combines them well with the rest of her clothes: decoration with sharp corners – a jacket with sharp lapels, a white brooch – a white shirt. Nabiullina competently combines brooches with glasses frames. She is not the first woman in politics to use this adornment when composing images. Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State, is the trendsetter. She owns the phrase “read my brooches.” Her collection includes about 200 brooches. Albright wore jewelry to negotiations, and everyone tried to understand what mood she was in and what decision a politician could make. There is a grain of slyness in this. If the politician could be read by the decoration, they would quickly see through. But a brooch for a woman is not only a decoration, but also a distraction. When we look at Nabiullina’s brooch in the shape of an owl, we naturally try to understand what such a sign might mean. At this point, people are distracted from what she is saying and reduce the critical level of perception of her words. When Nabiulliona wanted to divert attention, she put on spectacular brooches. But they still carry a certain meaning. Take the bullfinch, for example. This is primarily winter. At the same time, there is a red energy. The whole image came out crafty. Perhaps we are talking about cooling (tightening) the policy of the Central Bank ”. Anton GRINSTEIN, expert of the Hamilton Information and Analytical Center: “Probably, I should say thank you to the Bank of Russia and its head personally, for expanding our horizons and in an original, and sometimes very accurate, explanation of their vision of the financial and economic situation. This time, analysts and journalists refreshed their ornithological knowledge, remembering that the bullfinch depicted on Elvira Nabiullina’s brooch is a symbol of winter. Someone has already been quick to suggest that this is an allusion to a freeze in interest rates. But more attentive observers should remember that the rate reduction process has already been paused or, in other words, “frozen”. At a press conference on September 18, the rate remained unchanged (and since then it has remained at 4.25%), and a strange, massive brooch with a lurid pause sign was attached to the right side of the Central Bank head’s jacket. This means that it is unlikely that the Bank of Russia wanted to inform about this, duplicating the previously sent signal. The version with the fact that the regulator hints at a high probability of the coming financial and economic “cooling” looks more logical. Or, more simply, slowing down the economy. This is reasonable because the pace of global economic recovery is unlikely to be sustained amid the second wave of the pandemic. At one time, the former head of the Fed Ben Bernanke went to a press conference with a folder, and traders noticed that if there are a lot of papers in the folder, the situation is difficult, and the US dollar and American shares should be sold. And if there are not enough papers in Bernanke’s folder, then everything is fine and you can buy. True, observant financiers were not able to use this “life hack” of non-verbal communication for long, apparently someone prompted the head of the Fed about a “puncture”, and he began to attend press conferences with a tablet. This story shows well the traditions of “central bankers”, and the new “trick” of the Bank of Russia clearly does not fit into them. It is unlikely that this was done to stand out, among financiers it is not very welcomed, but rather a retreat – a small reputational risk that the Russian regulator takes on to help the market better understand future prospects. ”

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