The red flag as a symbol of revolution struggle appeared in Russia in the second half of the 19th century. During the first months of the Soviet rule the red color cloth with no inscriptions or emblems on it played the role of the national flag though it was not approved by any standard act. On April 8, 1918 the issue of the national flag was discussed at the Presidium meeting of the all-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’, Peasants’, Soldiers’ and Cossacks’ deputies. The Presidium chairman of the all-Russian Central Executive Committee Ya. M. Sverdlov suggested that the national flag of the Russian Republic would be a red color cloth with the letters «П.В.С.С.» on it (the abbreviation stood for most famous communist cries: Workers of the world, unite!).
After the discussion under the decree of the all-Russian Central Executive Committee of April 14, 1918 was established the national flag of the Soviet Russia: ‘The flag of the Russian Republic is to be the red banner with the following inscription: the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic’. The decree did not determine a color or a size or a position of the inscription, nor did it indicate the width and length ration of the color cloth.
In July of 1918 was approved the first Constitution of the RSFSR. Its article N 90 ran: ‘The trade, sea and military flag of the RSFSR consists of the red (scarlet) color cloth, with the letters ‘R.S.F.S.R.’ or the inscription ‘Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic’ set in the left upper corner near the flagstaff.
When the USSR was formed the official national flag became the red color cloth with golden hammer and sickle and a red star in a golden setting.
On April 8, 1991 the government committee of the Ministers Council of the RSFSR approved the re-establishment of tricolor as the Russian Federation flag. Under the decree of the Supreme Council of the RSFSR of August 22, 1991 the white-blue-red flag became the national flag of the RSFSR.
On December 11, 1993 the President of the Russian Federation B. N. Yeltsin signed the decree ‘On the National flag of the Russian Federation’.
The Day of the National Flag of the Russian Federation is celebrated annually on 22 August. The holiday is established under the President’s decree of August 20, 1994 ‘On the Day of the National Flag of the Russian Federation’.
Lit.: Силаев А. Г. «Истоки русской геральдики». М., 2002; Соболева Н. А. «Российская государственная символика». М., 2003; Соболева Н. А., Артамонов В. А. «Символы России». М., 1993.
From the Presidential library materials: