On September 16, 1918 the first military decoration of the Soviet Russia, the Order of the Red Banner, was established by the decree of All-Union Central Executive Committee.
The initiative to establish the decoration belonged to the military and it was realized by L.D. Trotsky who was the People’s commissar of the Armed forces of the RSFSR. Red Banner was awarded to ‘the citizens of Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic for heroism in combat or otherwise extraordinary accomplishments of military valor during combat operations’, as well as to military units, warships and formations. The awarded units were attributed the name ‘of the Red Banner’.
The first holder of the Order of the Red Banner became Vasily Blyukher, a hero of the Civil war, the commander of the first Red Banner detachments of Ural’s workers. The second order was given to I. Fedko, the Army commander of the 1st rank, and the third one to I. Stalin. K. Voroshilov had been awarded with the order six times, V. Blyukher – five times.
The Order of the Red Banner had also been awarded to the ‘Red Star’ paper, the city of Leningrad (Petrograd), Tashkent, Grozny, Volgograd (Tsaritsyn), Sevastopol, and others.
The Order of the Red Banner is a silver badge in the form of the unfolded Red Banner with legend ‘Proletarians of all countries, unite!’ Under the legend there is a laurel wreath. In the center on white enamel background there are crossed torch, flagstaff, rifle, hammer and plough, covered with five-point star. In the center of the star on white enamel background there is the image of hammer and sickle in the setting of laurel wreath. From the outside the order is entwined with a gold laurel wreath with a red ribbon with the legend ‘RSFSR’ on it and from 1924 ‘USSR’.
The statute of the Order was approved by decision of Presidium of the Central Executive Committee on January 11, 1932. Its last redaction was approved by the decree of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR of March 28, 1980.
Up to the establishment of Lenin’s Order in 1930, the Order of the Red Banner had been the highest award of the Soviet Union. The last Order of the Red Banner was presented in 1991.
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