Order of Victory

The Order of Victory (Russian: Орден "Победa", translit. Orden "Pobeda") was the highest military decoration awarded for World War II service in the Soviet Union, and one of the rarest orders in the world. The order was awarded only to Generals and Marshals for successfully conducting combat operations involving one or more army groups and resulting in a "successful operation within the framework of one or several fronts resulting in a radical change of the situation in favor of the Red Army."[1] In its history, it has been awarded twenty times to twelve Soviet leaders and five foreign leaders, with one revocation. The last living recipient was King Michael of Romania, who died on 5 December 2017.

Order of Victory
Orden-Pobeda-Marshal Vasilevsky
The Order of Victory
Awarded by the  Soviet Union
TypeSingle-grade order
EligibilityMilitary Generals and Marshals only
Awarded forConducting combat operations involving one or more army groups and resulting in a "successful operation within the framework of one or several fronts resulting in a radical change of the situation in favor of the Red Army"
StatusNo longer awarded
Statistics
EstablishedNovember 8, 1943
First awardedApril 10, 1944
Last awardedFebruary 20, 1978 (was revoked)
Total awarded20
Ordervictory rib

Ribbon of the Order of Victory

History

The order was proposed by Colonel N. S. Neyelov, who was serving at the Soviet Army Rear headquarters around June 1943. The original name that Colonel Neyelov suggested was Order for Faithfulness to the Homeland; however, it was given its present name around October of that year.[2]

On October 25, 1943, artist A. I. Kuznetsov, who was already the designer of many Soviet orders, presented his first sketch to Stalin. The sketch of a round medallion with portraits of Lenin and Stalin was not approved by the Supreme Commander. Instead, Stalin wanted a design with the Spasskaya Tower in the centre. Kuznetsov returned four days later with several new sketches, of which Stalin chose one entitled "Victory". He asked Kuznetsov to slightly alter the design, and on the 5th of November a prototype was finally approved. The order was officially adopted on November 8, 1943, and was first awarded to Georgy Zhukov (#1), Alexandr Vasilevsky (#2), and Joseph Stalin (#3).

The order was also bestowed to top commanders of the Allied forces. Every order was presented during or immediately after World War II, except for the controversial 1978 award to Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev's award was revoked posthumously in 1989 for not meeting the requirements for the award.

Like other orders awarded by Communist nations, the Order of Victory could be awarded more than once to the same individual. In total, the order was presented twenty times to seventeen people (including Brezhnev).

Unlike all other Soviet orders, the Order of Victory had no serial number on it, the number was only mentioned in the award certificate. After a holder of the Order of Victory died, the award was to be given back to the state. Most of awards are now preserved by the Diamond Fund in the Moscow Kremlin. Notable exceptions are Dwight D. Eisenhower's Order of Victory, which is on display at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's Order of Victory, which is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London, and Josip Broz Tito's Order of Victory, which is kept in the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade.

Construction details

The Order is made out of platinum in the form of a pentangular star with rays between the arms, measuring 72 mm in diameter. The star is studded with 174 diamonds weighing a total of 16 carats (3.2 g), while the arms of the star are made out of ruby. The rubies in the arms are synthetic, not because the synthetic gems were cheaper, but because they had to be of a uniform color, which could not be guaranteed with natural stones. In the center of the star is a silver medallion, with the Moscow Kremlin wall, the Spasskaya Tower, and Lenin's Mausoleum depicted in gold surrounded by bands of laurel and oak also colored in gold. The laurel and oak are bound with a red banner. The sky in the background is inlaid with blue enamel.[3]

Against the sky, the letters "СССР" (USSR) appear in gold centered on the top of the medallion, while the word "Победа" (Victory) is displayed on the red banner at the bottom. The total mass of the order is 78g, which consists of 47g of platinum, 2g of gold, 19g of silver, 25 carats of ruby and 16 carats of diamond.

Instead of being made at a mint, each Order was made in a jeweler's workshop.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had his star valued by an American jeweler; he told Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, (who, having been Commander of the Dutch Armed Forces during the war, was interested in receiving such a prestigious award himself) that his stones were "fakes".[4]

Ribbon

Ordervictory rib
The Order Ribbon.

The ribbons of various Soviet orders have been combined to create the Order Ribbon. The total length of the ribbon is 44 mm and it is mostly worn on the field uniform.[5] The following featured orders are depicted on the ribbon (read from outside towards the center):

  • Order of Glory (Орден Славы/Orden Slavy). Orange with black center stripe
  • Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky (Орден Богдана Хмельницкого/Orden Bogdana Khmelnitskogo). Light blue stripe
  • Order of Alexander Nevsky (Орден Александра Невского/Orden Aleksandra Nevskogo). Dark red stripe
  • Order of Kutuzov (Орден Кутузова/Orden Kutuzova). Dark blue stripe
  • Order of Suvorov (Орден Суворова/Orden Suvorova). Green stripe
  • Order of Lenin (Орден Ленина/Orden Lenina). Large Red stripe (center section)

List of recipients

Montgomery receives Order of Victory HD-SN-99-02756
British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (left, wearing beret) was awarded the Order of Victory on June 5, 1945. American general Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet field marshal Georgy Zhukov, also recipients of the Order of Victory, are to the right of Montgomery. British air marshal Sir Arthur Tedder (right of Zhukov) is also present.
# Date Name Died Summary
1 April 10, 1944 Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov June 18, 1974
2 April 10, 1944 Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilevsky December 5, 1977
3 April 10, 1944 Soviet Union Joseph Stalin March 5, 1953
4 March 30, 1945 Soviet Union Poland Konstantin Rokossovsky August 3, 1968
5 March 30, 1945 Soviet Union Ivan Konev May 21, 1973
6 April 19, 1945 Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilevsky December 5, 1977 (2nd time)
7 April 26, 1945 Soviet Union Rodion Malinovsky March 31, 1967
8 April 26, 1945 Soviet Union Fyodor Tolbukhin October 17, 1949
9 May 31, 1945 Soviet Union Leonid Govorov March 19, 1955
10 May 31, 1945 Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov June 18, 1974 (2nd time)
11 June 4, 1945 Soviet Union Semyon Timoshenko March 31, 1970
12 June 4, 1945 Soviet Union Aleksei Antonov June 18, 1962
13 June 5, 1945 United Kingdom Bernard Montgomery March 24, 1976
14 June 10, 1945 United States Dwight D. Eisenhower March 28, 1969
15 June 26, 1945 Soviet Union Joseph Stalin March 5, 1953 (2nd time)
16 July 6, 1945 Kingdom of Romania Michael I of Romania December 5, 2017
17 August 9, 1945 Poland Michał Rola-Żymierski October 15, 1989
18 September 8, 1945 Soviet Union Kirill Meretskov December 30, 1968
19 September 9, 1945 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito May 4, 1980
20 February 20, 1978 Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev November 10, 1982 Revoked (posthumously)

Fate of the Orders

Kremlin plate
Plaque at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, listing the recipients of the Order of Victory. Brezhnev's name is not on the plaque, as his award was revoked in 1989.

After the death of the recipient of the Order of Victory, it was to be given back to the state.

  • All orders awarded to Soviet commanders are in Russia.
    • The Russian Central Museum of Armed Forces has five orders: two of A. Vasilevsky, two of G. Zhukov and one of R. Malinovsky.
    • The State Precious Metals and Gems Repository (Gokhran) in Russia has one order: K. Rokossovskiy's.
    • All other orders that are in Russia are stored in the Moscow Kremlin, preserved by the Diamond Fund.
  • Tito's order is at the Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade (former the May 25th Museum)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower's Order is on display at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.[6]
  • Bernard Montgomery's Order is in the Imperial War Museum in London.
  • The Order Pobeda of Michael I is allegedly in his estate.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of November 8, 1943" (in Russian). Legal Library of the USSR. 1943-11-08. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  2. ^ Dmitry Markov, Order of Victory - 1943 (Russian-medals.net)
  3. ^ Voice of Russia, World Service in English (2005) The Order of Victory Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in an interview with H.G. Meijer, published in "Het Vliegerkruis", Amsterdam 1997, ISBN 90-6707-347-4 . page 92
  5. ^ (in Russian) Awards and medals of the Soviet Union Орден "Победа"
  6. ^ Featured Museum Artifact

External links

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