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The Order of Victory (Russian: Орден «Победа», romanizedOrden "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.jpg
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
EstablishedNovember 8, 1943
First awardedApril 10, 1944
Last awardedFebruary 20, 1978 (was revoked)
Total awarded20
Ordervictory rib.png
Ribbon of the Order of Victory


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 detailsEdit

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]


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 recipientsEdit

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 1944-04-10April 10, 1944   Georgy Zhukov 1974-06-18June 18, 1974
2 1944-04-10April 10, 1944   Aleksandr Vasilevsky 1977-12-05December 5, 1977
3 1944-04-10April 10, 1944   Joseph Stalin 1953-03-05March 5, 1953
4 1945-03-30March 30, 1945     Konstantin Rokossovsky 1968-08-03August 3, 1968
5 1945-03-30March 30, 1945   Ivan Konev 1973-05-21May 21, 1973
6 1945-04-19April 19, 1945   Aleksandr Vasilevsky 1977-12-05December 5, 1977 (2nd time)
7 1945-04-26April 26, 1945   Rodion Malinovsky 1967-03-31March 31, 1967
8 1945-04-26April 26, 1945   Fyodor Tolbukhin 1949-10-17October 17, 1949
9 1945-05-31May 31, 1945   Leonid Govorov 1955-03-19March 19, 1955
10 1945-05-31May 31, 1945   Georgy Zhukov 1974-06-18June 18, 1974 (2nd time)
11 1945-06-04June 4, 1945   Semyon Timoshenko 1970-03-31March 31, 1970
12 1945-06-04June 4, 1945   Aleksei Antonov 1962-06-18June 18, 1962
13 1945-06-05June 5, 1945   Bernard Montgomery 1976-03-24March 24, 1976
14 1945-06-05June 10, 1945   Dwight D. Eisenhower 1969-03-28March 28, 1969
15 1945-06-26June 26, 1945   Joseph Stalin 1953-03-05March 5, 1953 (2nd time)
16 1945-07-06July 6, 1945   Michael I of Romania 2December 5, 2017
17 1945-08-09August 9, 1945   Michał Rola-Żymierski 1989-10-15October 15, 1989
18 1945-09-08September 8, 1945   Kirill Meretskov 1968-12-30December 30, 1968
19 1945-09-09September 9, 1945   Josip Broz Tito 1980-05-04May 4, 1980
20 1978-02-20February 20, 1978   Leonid Brezhnev 1982-11-10November 10, 1982 Revoked (posthumously)

Fate of the OrdersEdit

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 alsoEdit


  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 (
  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 linksEdit