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Order of Lenin
Order of Lenin.jpg
The Order of Lenin
Awarded by the  Soviet Union
Type Single-grade order
Eligibility Citizens of the Soviet Union, Institutions
Awarded for to civilians for outstanding services rendered to the State,

to members of the armed forces for exemplary service,
to those who promoted friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace, and
for other meritorious services to the Soviet state and society

Status No longer awarded
Established April 6, 1930
First awarded May 23, 1930
Last awarded December 21, 1991
Total awarded 431,418
Next (lower) Order of the October Revolution
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png
Ribbon of the Order of Lenin

The Order of Lenin (Russian: Орден Ленина, Orden Lenina), named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union. The order was awarded

  • to civilians for outstanding services rendered to the State,
  • to members of the armed forces for exemplary service,
  • to those who promoted friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace, and
  • for other meritorious services to the Soviet state and society

From 1944 to 1957, before the institution of specific length of service medals, the Order of Lenin was also used to reward 25 years of conspicuous military service.

Those who were awarded the titles "Hero of the Soviet Union" and "Hero of Socialist Labor" were also given the order as part of the award. It was also bestowed on cities, companies, factories, regions, military units and ships.

The order was established by the Central Executive Committee on April 6, 1930.


Design of the decoration

The first design of the Order of Lenin was made of silver with some lightly gold-plated features. It was a round badge with a central disc featuring Vladimir Lenin's profile surrounded by smokestacks, a tractor and a building, possibly a power plant. A thin red-enamelled border and a circle of wheat panicles surrounded the disc. At the top was a gold-plated "hammer and sickle" emblem, and at the bottom were the Russian initials for "USSR" (СССР) in red enamel. Only about 800 of this design were minted.[1]

The second, final design was awarded in 1934 and onwards. This was a solid-gold badge, featuring an enamelled disc bearing Lenin's portrait . The disc is surrounded by two golden panicles of wheat, and a red flag with "LENIN" in Cyrillic script (ЛЕНИН). A red star is placed on the left and the "hammer and sickle" emblem at the bottom, both in red enamel.

The badge was originally worn by screwback on the left chest without ribbon. Later it was worn as a medal suspended from a red ribbon with pairs of yellow stripes at the edges (see image above). The ribbon bar is of the same design.

The portrait of Lenin was originally a riveted silver piece. For a time it was incorporated into a one-piece gold badge, but finally returned as a separate platinum piece until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.


The first Order of Lenin was awarded to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on 23 May 1930. Also among the first ten recipients were five industrial companies, three pilots, and the Secretary to the Central Executive Committee Avel Enukidze. The first person to be awarded a second Order of Lenin was the pilot Valery Chkalov in 1936. Another pilot, Vladimir Kokkinaki, became the first to receive a third Order in 1939.

The first five foreign recipients, a German and four Americans (one of the Americans was Frank Bruno Honey[2]—on May 17, 1932), received the award for helping in the reconstruction of Soviet industry and agriculture in 1931–1934.[3]

The record for most Orders of Lenin received by a single person is held by Nikolay Patolichev, long-time Minister for Foreign Trade of the USSR, who was awarded 12 times. Other numerous repeat awardees are:

Among organisations and geographical objects, three Orders of Lenin were awarded to:

The last Order of Lenin was awarded on 21 December 1991.

A total of 431,418 Orders were awarded.

References in popular culture

  • In the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October Dr. Petrov (Tim Curry), upon hearing Captain Marko Ramius' (Sean Connery) order to scuttle the ship rather than let it fall into American hands, proclaims "'ll receive the Order of Lenin for this, Sir!".
  • In the video game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the Soviet scientist Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin shows off his various awards including the Order of Lenin and boasts about being given the title of 'Hero of Socialism' for his development of the mobile ballistic missile system known as SS-1C (better known as Scud).
  • James Bond receives the order in the 1985 film A View to a Kill. It is awarded by General Anatol Gogol, for saving the American microchip industry (and thus, by implication of heavy espionage, the Soviet microchip industry), which was going to be destroyed by the main villain Max Zorin. In the movie, Bond is said to be the first non-Soviet citizen to receive the award, though this is not historically accurate. Various other villains and characters in the James Bond movie series have worn the order on their uniforms, usually in the form of a ribbon bar.

See also


  1. ^ McDaniel & Schmitt, The Comprehensive Guide to Soviet Orders and Medals.
  2. ^ "One American, Frank Bruno Honey, received the Order of Lenin for his work." Dana G. Dalrymple, The American Tractor Comes to Soviet Agriculture: The Transfer of a Technology, Technology and Culture, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Spring, 1964), pp. 191–214 [1]
  3. ^ (Russian) Order of Lenin - history of establishment, evolution and varieties by Valery Durov


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