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First soviet military decorations were created in 1917 –what was a really determinant year for Russian history. A month after revolution when a new super-powerful state – USSR just started its life all rewards given by Russian Empire were cancelled.
Constant and complicated civil war forced new leaders to create a new system of awards that would differ not only by design, value and name but also would become the best reflection to ideas, ideals and ambitions that formed a new republic’s core. Among soviet military decorations that are considered to be rare there is an Order of the Red Banner, created on 16th September 1918. It was given both to civil and military citizenships of Russian Socialistic Federative Soviet Republic for an exceptional courage and discipline shown during military actions. This order was the fist decoration that was awarded to citizens by Soviet Union. It was made from silver but soon this material was changed to gold and later to platinum.
First existing soviet military orders, medals and decorations
December 1920 became a year when first Labour Red Banner Order was created (the final name were established in 1928). In two years Soviet Union introduced another decoration – this time it could be awarded both to civil and military citizenships – order of Lenin, that was created on April 1930 and were the highest award in the country, at the same time — one more decoration was introduced – an Order of the Red Star that belongs to military Soviet awards.
Threatening of Second World War became a reason for creating new Soviet awards in the USSR. The first one was an Order of the Patriotic War created on 20th May 1942. This order was different from other military decorations and awards that had ever been created in the USSR before. A very detailed document with clearly specified actions that could be a reason to award was applied to an order. As well order had two grades, that had never happened before, also it had absolutely different design and it had to be worn on the right side of one’s chest while all other Soviet medals (that existed at the moment) used to be placed on the left side. This changes characterized a new tendency for military awards in USSR
Decorations that appeared during Great Patriotic War
Right after appearance of Order of the Patriotic War two more awards were created: orders of Suvorov, Kutuzov and the same year later – order of Alexander Nevskiy. Medals had some similarities with a previously created reward but they had to be worn on the left side of a chest. Next year it was decided to introduce on more order – an order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky. It was followed by two more military awards: order of Ushakov and Nahimov that were created in March 1944 and both had two grades.
19th June 1943 was a day for a new change in the system of military awards of the USSR, the country’s leaders issued a document that allowed to wear a plate with ribbons instead of Soviet orders and medals, what allowed to preserve more military decoration till our days.
The highest military order “Victory” and soldiers’ order of Glory were created on 8th of November 1943. Order of Glory had three grades. It was actually an analogy of a Saint George’s Cross that was used as a military decoration in Russian Empire, this order became first reflection of a previous system in USSR.
Some rules according to placement of military decoration were also introduced in 19th June 1943, according to new rules order had to be worn on the left or right side depending on its shape, meaning. But all soviet medals had to be placed on the left side.
Soviet decoration nowadays
Nowadays military decoration issued during 1917 – 1991 are a subject to private and state collection with cultural and historical meaning. They also became a national symbol of Second World War — a glory monuments for Soviet history.