Rol_Lei_Nut, thanks again, that was very helpful.
EASmith, Zenit E and Helios 44 always makes me feel warm inside and aggressive at the same time as it was my first kit. It was a love/hate relationship that didn't end well for the poor E. I may go to my parent's place and take a look at it again, I know it's still there.
I definitely don't remember the swirls - at the time I didn't know anybody doing LF so even if I saw them I didn't put much thought into it. Maybe it's only your copy of the lens that does it. Don't do any sudden moves around it, don't yell much and never ever grab the E by the lens, or it might stop doing the swirls. Or it might stop doing anything altogether. It's a weird thing, that Helios.