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The pattern is thought to symbolise fire and gunpowder. It is also thought to be derived from the colours of the original Russian imperial coat of arms (black eagle on a golden background).

The Ribbon of St George, St.George Ribbon (Russian: георгиевская лента georgievskaya lenta) constitutes one of the most recognised and respected symbols of military valour in modern Russia. It is widely associated with the commemoration of World War II and especially with the units who were awarded the collective Guard battle honours during the conflict. The ribbon consists of a black and orange bicolour pattern, with three black and two orange stripes. Its origins may be traced back to the Russian Empire.

The Georgian ribbon emerged as part of the Order of St George, established in 1769 as the highest military decoration of Imperial Russia (and re-established in 1998 by the Russian Federation). While the Order of St George was normally not a collective award, the ribbon was sometimes granted to regiments and units that performed brilliantly during wartime and constituted an integral part of some collective battle honours (such as banners and pennants). When not awarded the full Order, some distinguished officers were granted ceremonial swords, adorned with the Georgian ribbon. In 1806, distinctive Georgian banners were introduced as a further battle honour awarded to meritorious Guards and Leib Guard regiments. The pike on which these flags were mounted was topped by the St George Cross and adorned with 4,44 cm wide Georgian ribbons. It remained the highest collective military award in the Russian military until the Revolution in 1917.

Cross of the Order of St. George First Degree (current): cross, star and ribbon

The title of the Soviet Guards was first introduced on 18 September 1941 in accordance with the decision of the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief (Russian: Ставка Верховного Главнокомандующего, or Stavka Verkhovnogo Glavnokomanduyuschego) and by the order No. 308 of the People's Commissar of Defense for the distinguished services during the Yelnya Offensive. The 100th, 127th, 153rd and 161st Rifle Divisions were renamed into the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Guards Divisions, respectively. The units and formations nominated for the Soviet Guard title received special Guards banner in accordance with the decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. On 21 May 1942, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR introduced Guards ranks and Guards badges to be worn of the right side of the chest. Both included the Georgian ribbon pattern. In June of 1943, they introduced the Guards Red Banners for the land forces and in February of 1944 - for the naval forces. Georgian ribbons adorned the banners exactly as in the 19th century.

The ribbon of Saint George. This is worn in a manner to celebrate Victory Day

Established on 8 November 1943, the Order of Glory (Orden Slavy) was an order of the Soviet Union. It was awarded to non-commissioned officers and rank-and-file of the armed forces, as well as junior lieutenants of the air force, for bravery in the face of the enemy. The ribbon of the Order was orange with three black stripes - the same as that of the Cross of St. George.

One of the most honourable medals in the Soviet Army, For the Victory Over Germany (Russian: За победу над Германией) also features St. George strips. It were awarded to all the soldiers and officers who directly participated in the combat actions during the Great Patriotic War campaigns, and was the first awards to be universally granted to all the veterans, for the most part, right after the end of the war. This award, along with the similar medal For the Victory Over Japan, is still used in the former Soviet Union countries to distinguish between the actual veterans of World War II and all non-combat participants.

Ribbon of Saint George on a car antenna, Moscow, May 2008

Georgievskaya Lenta Action

Since the 60th anniversary of the Victory Day (9th of May in Russia), the ribbon is freely worn by civilians (for naming of such ribbons diminutive form is used: георгиевская ленточка) as an act of commemoration and remembrance (like poppies in Great Britain on Remembrance Day, although without the charitable element).

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