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April, 8 – June, 24, 2015

Front hall of the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin

Organised by:
Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, The Moscow Kremlin Museums

01# The Order of Victory of Ivan Konev.The exhibition in the Front hall of the Armoury Chamber, dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, represents orders and medals of the USSR from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums. The awards were conferred on soldiers, seamen and officers for outstanding heroism; generals and admirals - for skillful generalship; and rear workers - for selfless labour during the Great Patriotic War. Every decoration is a symbol of the united national feat in the most difficult years of Russian history.

During the first stage of the war the Russian forces were retreating and resisting the Hitlerite Germany, that has occupied the most European part of the USSR. At that period decorations of the pre-war years were presented for heroism on the battlefield. They are the Orders of the Red Banner and the Red Star, the medals “For courage” and “For Battle Merit”. Also the title Hero of the Soviet Union along with the order of Lenin and “the Gold Star” medal were conferred on the excelled.

The idea of the establishment of the new decorations, which would meet the reality of the cruel war, arose in spring 1942. The Order of the Patriotic War (two classes) was established in May, and June 1942 marked the creation of the legendary commanders' orders of Suvorov (three classes), Kutuzov (three classes) and Alexander Nevsky.

New decorations were appearing as the Russian army was moving to the West and the county’s territory was being liberated from the Nazi invaders. The new awards included the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky (three classes), established by the decree of October 10, 1943 during the liberation of Ukraine. This is the only commander’s order the third class of which could be awarded to private soldiers and partisans.

Two indicative orders – of Victory and of Glory (three classes) - supplemented the list of decorations on November 8, 1943.

The Order of Victory is the most expensive decoration in the world. It’s also the most rare, as is was presented only 19 times in the history. The order is made of platinum and gold and adorned with diamonds and rubies. The orders displayed at the exhibition were awarded for successful combat operations to the most prominent Soviet commanders: A. Antonov, L. Govorov, I. Konev, K. Meretskov, K. Rokossovsky, I. Stalin and F. Tolbukhin. There is no other museum collection in the world acquiring such a number of the Victory orders.

The Order of Glory is the successor to the legendary soldier’s decoration - the Cross of Saint George. Orange and black colors of St. George’s ribbon, symbolizing fire and gunpowder, have become a symbol of the heroic sacrifice of the Soviet soldiers’ and officers’ valour. These very colors were placed on the mount of the Order of Glory in 1943, and of the medal "For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War" in 1945.

The navy orders of Ushakov (two classes) and Nakhimov (two classes) were established on March 3, 1944 - at a final stage of the Great Patriotic War. They were made of precious metals as well as the commander’s orders.

The years of the Great Patriotic War showed that it’s only the unbelievable unity at the frontline as well as in the rear, that can help to win. The years 1943 and 1945 saw mass awarding with medals "For the Defense of Leningrad", "For the Defense of Moscow", "For the Defense of Odessa", "For the Defense of Sevastopol", "For the Defense of Stalingrad", "For the Defense of the Caucasus", ""For the Defence of the Soviet Transarctic"". These medals were not only conferred on combatants and partisans, but on the representatives of the civil population for the construction of defensive structures or cooperation with clandestine organizations, for example. The Red Army personnel having fought at the most important, significant lines, was awarded with medals "For the Defense of Moscow", "For the Liberation of Warsaw", "For the Liberation of Prague", "For the Capture of Königsberg", " For the Capture of Vienna ", "For the capture of Budapest" and "For the capture of Berlin". The medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic war 1941-1945" became the most wide spread award.

The selfless labour during the war years was noted by conferring of the title of Hero of Socialist Labour, as well of the Order of Lenin and medals "For Distinguished Labour", "For Labour Valour" and "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 ". Fighters of guerilla groups were awarded with the medal "Partisan of the Patriotic war" (two classes).

It's for the first time, that the unique original documents related to the awarding of the first person of the Soviet state, Joseph Stalin, are exhibited. They include the Warrants of The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Union of the conferment of Joseph Stalin as a Marshall of the Soviet Union with delivery of the Marshall’s Star and of the conferment of Joseph Stalin as the supreme rank of Generalissimus of the Soviet Union, as well as his rewarding documents.

The orders and medals, presented at the exhibition, reflect the feat of the Soviet people at the front and in the rear.

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