On November 8, 1943 under the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR the Orders of Victory and Glory were established at the same time.
The Order of the Victory was the highest military order. It was intended for decorating of the high-ranking officers of the Soviet Army for a successful large-scale fighting operation conducted by one or several fronts followed by a radical change of the situation in favor of the Soviet Army. Besides, the names of the Order holders were put on the specially established memorial plaque as a sign of a particular distinction. The Order of Victory could be awarded only under the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The Order N 1 received the Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov, N 2 was given to the Marshal of the Soviet Union A.M. Vasilevsky.
In all, eleven Soviet commanders became the holders of the Order of Victory (G.K. Zhukov, A.M. Vasilevsky and I.V. Stalin - twice) and also five foreign citizens that showed their worth during the Second World War. On February 20, 1978 L.I. Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was also awarded with this Order. But after his death this awarding was annulled as unfair.
Unlike the Order of Victory, the Order of Glory was considered as a “soldier’s” one because it was established to award rank and file having displayed the courage and fearlessness during the battles for the Fatherland. This Order consisted of three classes and had a series of particularities that distinguished it from all the other state awards of the Soviet period because originally it was meant to become a sort of a continuation of the tsar’s St. George Order.
The Order of Glory was awarded exclusively to soldiers and sergeants of the Red Army, and also junior lieutenants in the aviation. The awarding of this Order was done only in the line of ascent, beginning from the lowest third class. Before 1974 the Order of Glory was the only Soviet order attributed for personal services (neither a military unit, nor an enterprise or an organization could be awarded with it). The statute of the Order provided for advancement in military service of the holders of all the three classes that was an exception from the Soviet award system. The colors of the Order’s ribbons, black and orange stripes, copied the coloration of the ribbon of St. George Order. Besides the color and design of the ribbon was the same for all the three classes that was characteristic only for the pre-revolutionary award system but was never used in the award system of the USSR.
In all during the Great Patriotic War over 200 thousand men were awarded with the Order of Glory and about 2.5 thousand became the holder of all the three classes. By 1989 the Order of Glory of the First Class was awarded to 2 thousand 620 men; of the Second Class – 46 thousand 473 and of the Third Class – 997 thousand 815 men.
Lit.: Дуров В. А. Русские и советские боевые награды. М., 1989; Колесников Г. А., Рожков А. М. Ордена и Медали СССР. М., 1983; Куценко А. Н. Ордена СССР. Донецк, 1994; Музалевский М. В. Ордена и медали СССР. Тиражи, разновидности. Справочник. М.,1996; Савичев Н. П. Символы трудовой и ратной доблести. Киев, 1987; Шишков С. С., Музалевский М. В. Ордена и медали СССР: Тиражи и разновидности: Справочник. Владивосток, 2000.
Based on the Presidential Library’s materials: