Russian Order of Saint George

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Order of Saint George

The Order of St. George was or is a Russian Order of Merit .

Russian Empire

In the Russian Empire , the Order of the Holy and Victorious Grand Martyr George ( Russian Орден Святого Великомученика и Победоносца Георгия / Orden Svjatowo Velikomutschenika i Pobedonosza Georgija ) was the only merit purely military character.


As early as 1765, Tsarina Catherine II planned the establishment of a military order called the "War Catherine Order", which was to serve as an award for years of service in the army and the navy . Statutes were even drawn up in imitation of the Military Maria Theresa Order , but it was never established. Instead, on November 26th (December 7th) 1769, the Empress founded the famous Order of St. George. Originally it was supposed to serve as a reward for bravery in front of the enemy, but in the course of time the cross of the 4th grade was used as an award for years of service, which was anchored in the statutes of 1816. These crosses bore the inscription "25 ЛЕТЪ" for 25 years of service in the army or "18 КАМПАНИЙ" for participation in 18 naval battles of the fleet (later, in 1833, expanded to 20).

The order was four-class and consisted of two departments:

  • the so-called Great Crosses: Grand Cross and Commander Cross (corresponding to 1st and 2nd class)
    • OrderStGeorge1cl rib.png 1st Class
    • OrderStGeorge2cl rib.png 2nd Class
  • the so-called small crosses, chest and neck decorations of the 3rd and 4th grade.
    • OrderStGeorge3cl rib.png 3rd grade
    • OrderStGeorge4cl rib.png 4th grade


How to wear the various religious classes

The medal is a white enameled paw cross . In the gold-framed center medallion of the obverse it bears the image of St. George on a white horse who kills the dragon (this was the coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Moscow ). In the medallion of the reverse the order shows the name of the saint, which is surrounded by the order's motto. Non-Christians received the order in the form of a cross, but with the tsar's eagle instead of the icon in the middle medallion. Confusion contributes to the fact that the cross does not represent the actual George Cross as an emblem, although the order also bears this name.

The 1st and 2nd class gold star is square. Its middle medallion is enamelled in red and shows the name of the saint, which is surrounded by a green wreath with the motto "ЗА СЛУЖБУ И ХРАБРОСТЬ" ("For service and bravery").

St. George's ribbon as a current souvenir of Victory Day .

The ribbon was originally yellow-black or occasionally gold-black. In the statutes it was officially described as yellow-black, but was later often executed in the colors orange and black. As the St. George's Band, it has developed in public since 2005 as a widespread symbol in memory of Victory Day and later as a sign of support for the political course of the Putin government.

The grand cross was worn on the left hip, the 2nd and 3rd grade crosses as a neck decoration, and the 4th grade cross was worn on a pentagonal metal clasp that was covered with the ribbon.

Nobility and privileges

The first two classes gave the rank of major general , the 3rd and 4th that of colonel . A first-class candidate must have won a battle as commander-in-chief and must also have actually served 25 years or participated in 18 sea campaigns.

All classes of the Order of Saint George were associated with the bestowal of hereditary nobility .

Awards until 1917

Emperor Franz Joseph with the Order of St. George, 4th class
Alexander of Hesse and near the Rhine after the Battle of Solferino with the Order of St. George 2nd and 4th Class, the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order and the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold .
Roman von Ungern-Sternberg with the Order of St. George, 4th grade

First class awards were rare: there were only 25 Grand Cross bearers of the Order of St. George (award dates according to the Julian calendar in brackets):

The nurse Rimma Iwanowa (4th grade 1917) was next to Catherine II and Marie in Bavaria one of three women who were honored with the Order of St. George during the Russian Empire. Even tsars and other monarchs often only got the 3rd or 4th class of the order, for example Emperor Franz Joseph I , who always wore the order with his everyday uniform. The 2nd class medal was awarded 125 times, 3rd class 650 times and 4th class over 10,500 times. Only Kutusow, Barclay de Tolly, Paskewitsch and von Diebitsch-Sabalkanski received the order in all four levels, as well as from the 3rd to the 1st level Potjomkin, Suvorov and von Bennigsen.

The Order of St. George was never awarded with swords or diamonds. From 1915 the order was no longer made in gold or silver, but in gold-plated or silver-plated copper (so-called war edition).

St. George's Cross and St. George's Medal

In 1807, Emperor Alexander I donated the Silver Cross of St. George (called "Medal of Honor of the Order of War", then from 1913 "Cross of St. George"), which had the shape of the order but was unenamelled. This award was intended for NCOs and soldiers in the Russian army . In 1856 the cross was divided into four classes and gold (1st and 2nd grade) and silver (3rd and 4th grade) crosses. They were worn on the ribbon of the Order of St. George, with a bow on the clasp of the 1st and 2nd stage. Until around 1915, all 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade crosses were given an award number on the lapel.

In 1878 the George Medal with 4 levels with the image of the saint and the motto “ЗА ХРАБРОСТЬ”, which was also worn on the ribbon of the Order of George, was donated.

The medal with its subsidiary awards was awarded until the October Revolution of 1917, after which it expired.

German-Soviet War

Troop badge of the SS Sturmbrigade RONA

Although the Order of St. George and other symbols of the imperial past were banned after the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, the order reappeared as a military badge in the German-Soviet War . In October 1941, the 2nd Panzer Army of the Wehrmacht occupied the Lokot settlement in the western Russian Oblast of Bryansk . The Republic of Lokot was established on the occupied territory, under the leadership of the Russian collaborator Konstantin Voskobojnik. He set up the local police , which wore white bracelets with the George cross. After Voskobojnik's death, Bronislaw Kaminski was appointed mayor of the Lokot Republic. Kaminski set up a militia as the People's Army Brigade, which he later renamed the "Russian People's Liberation Army" RONA (Русская Освободительная Народная Армия, РОНА). The RONA Brigade, from which the 29th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS "RONA" (Russian No. 1) was to emerge, wore the George Cross with the image of Saint George on a white horse killing a dragon as a sleeve shield . Above the George Cross with crossed swords was written “RONA” (Cyrillic “РОНА”) in yellow on a black background, although there were local deviations in the design of the sleeve shield. In addition, a collar tab with St. George's Cross was designed, but not worn because the division was disbanded. During the last years of the war, the Order of St. George was approved by the Russian Liberation Army of General Vlasov used, which is also on the side of the Axis powers fought.

Russian Federation

On March 2, 1992, the order was renewed with Ukas No. 2424-1 of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation ; Status and description were confirmed on August 8, 2000 with ukase No. 1463 by President Vladimir Putin . At first it was not awarded, as the condition for the award was the case of an armed attack on Russia.

By order of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev on August 13, 2008, the corresponding article of the Order's Statute was changed to the effect that the Order is now also responsible for “carrying out combat and other missions on the territories of other states to maintain international peace and the Security ” can be conferred. The first medals were awarded when Medvedev recognized several officers in August 2008 for the successful implementation of the campaign that forced Georgia to "accept peace" (cf. Caucasus War 2008 ). So far (as of August 2011) only a few awards of the order have been made in the 2nd and 4th stage, including the 2nd stage to:

  1. Nikolai Makarov ( Army General , Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces )
  2. Alexander Selin ( Colonel General , Commander in Chief of the Russian Air Force )
  3. Vladimir Boldyrev ( Army General , Commander in Chief of the Russian Land Forces until 2010 )

and the 4th stage:

  1. Sergei Makarov (North Caucasian Military District Commander)
  2. Vladimir Shamanov
  3. Anatoly Lebed


  • Gustav Adolph Ackermann: Order book of all in Europe flourishing and extinct orders and decorations. Rudolph & Dieterici, Annaberg 1855, pp. 100-101 .
  • Václav Měřička : Orders and Awards. Artia, Prague 1966.
  • Иван Г. Спасский: Иностранные и русский ордена до 1917 года. Государственный Эрмитаж, Ленинград 1963.
  • Виталий М. Шабанов: Военный орден Святого Великомученика и Победоносца Георгия именные. списки 1769–1920. Биобиблиографический справочник. Русскій Мір, Москва 2004, ISBN 5-89577-059-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Pål Kolstø: Symbol of the War - But Which One? The St George Ribbon in the Russian Nation Building . In: The Slavonic and East European Review . 94, No. 4, October 2016, pp. 660–701. doi: 10.5699 / slaveasteurorev2.94.4.0660 .
  2. a b c Vera Demmel: The George Ribbon: Order of Glory, Memorial Sign, Pro-Kremlin Symbol . In: Osteuropa 3/2016, pp. 19–31.
  3. David Littlejohn: Kaminski and RONA In Foreign Legions of the Third Reich: Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Free India, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Russia (4th volume). 2nd Edition. R. James Bender Publishing, San Jose, Calif. 1994, ISBN 0-912138-36-X , pp. 309-312.
  4. ^ Nigel Thomas: Hitler's Russian & Cossack Allies 1941-45 . Osprey Publishing , Oxford 2015, ISBN 978-1-4728-0687-1 , p. 18 f .
  5. ^ Hans Werner Neulen: On the German side. International volunteers from the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS . Universitas-Verlag, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-8004-1069-9 , p. 335.
  6. a b SA Oushakine: Remembering in Public: On the Affective management of History . In: Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space 1/2013, pp. 269–302. doi: 10.1353 / imp.2013.0000 .
  7. Указ "О внесении изменений в некоторые акты Президента Российской Федерации о государственных наградах Российской Федерации " (About changes to some arrangements of the President of the Russian Federation state awards of the Russian Federation)

Web links

Commons : Russian Order of Saint George  - collection of images, videos and audio files