Military Wiki
Honorary title
Hero of the Russian Federation
Hero of the Russian Federation obverse.jpg
Obverse of the Gold Star of Hero of the Russian Federation
Awarded by  Russian Federation
Type Honorary title
Eligibility Citizens of the Russian Federation
Awarded for Heroic feats in service of the state
Status Active
Established March 20, 1992[1]
Related Hero of the Soviet Union
Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation
Hero of Ukraine
Hero of Belarus
Hero of Kazakhstan

Hero of the Russian Federation (Russian: Герой Российской Федерации) is the highest title of honor of the Russian Federation. A person that has been granted the title also receives a Gold Star medal, an insignia of honor that identifies recipients.

The title is awarded to persons that delivered a "service to the Russian state and nation, connected with a deed of a hero valor". The title is bestowed by the President of the Russian Federation.[2] Russian citizenship, and being in state service is not obligatory.

The title was established in 1992, and was awarded more than 970 times since then, including more than 440 times posthumously.[3]


Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of Kalashnikov assault rifles, wears Gold Star of Hero of the Russian Federation and two Stars of Hero of Socialist Labour (USSR)

The title "Hero of Russia" is a successor to Hero of the Soviet Union (Russian: Герой Советского Союза), which was established by Resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union of May 5, 1934.[4] The corresponding Gold Star is derived from the Soviet design, created by architect Miron Merzhanov and approved by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of August 1, 1939.[5]

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian Federation under president Boris Yeltsin retained a modified award by Law of the Russian Federation № 2553-1 of March 20, 1992.[1] Article 71 of the Constitution of Russia permits titles, orders and medals to be presented by the government, and Article 89 gives the Russian president power to create state awards.[6] This is the highest honour that can be presented by the Russian president to a citizen.


The title of Hero of the Russian Federation can be awarded for a heroic deed in the service of the state. It can be awarded to both civilian and military personnel. The title can also be awarded posthumously if the heroic act costs the recipient his or her life. The President of the Russian Federation is the main conferring authority of the award.[1][7]

The insignia of Hero of the Russian Federation is worn on the left side of the chest above all other medals and decorations. Its medal is always worn in full size, there is no ribbon bar or rosette that can be worn in its lieu. When Soviet titles, such as Hero of the Soviet Union or Hero of Socialist Labour are worn together with the medal of the Russian title, the latter will have precedence.[7][8]


The insignia of the title of "Hero of the Russian Federation" is also called the "Gold Star" medal (Russian: медаль «Золотая Звезда»), its design is similar to the Soviet variant.

The "Gold Star" medal is a gold five-pointed star with smooth 15mm dihedral rays on the obverse. The otherwise plain reverse bears the prominent relief inscription in 2mm high letters "HERO OF RUSSIA" (Russian: "ГЕРОЙ РОССИИ") at its center, in the upper portion, the award serial number in 1mm high numbers.[9]

The insignia is secured to a standard Russian square mount by a ring through the suspension loop. The mount is covered by a silk moiré tricolour ribbon of white, blue and red.[9]


Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev in 1992 became the first recipient of the title for outstanding service at the Mir space station[10]

Guards Lieutenant Colonel Anatoly Lebed, awarded in 2005 "for courage and heroism in the performance of military duties in the North Caucasus".

The majority of the early recipients of the title fell into two categories: participants in the Chechnya conflicts or cosmonauts. On some occasions, the person who was awarded the title was killed while in the course of duty, such as Major Denis Vetchinov, who was killed early in the 2008 South Ossetia War. This includes those killed in battle as well as assassinated government officials. An example of such a recipient was Akhmad Kadyrov, the former governor of Chechnya. The pro-Moscow leader was killed in a bomb attack during the 2004 Victory Day parade in the Chechen capital of Grozny. Several days after Akhmad was killed, President Vladimir Putin awarded him the title. Some time after the incident, Putin awarded Kadyrov's son, Ramzan, the same title for his work in Chechnya.[11]

All Russian cosmonauts are awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation following their voyage into space; some may already have earned it, for example for long service as a test pilot. Cosmonauts are also awarded the title Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation. Some recipients of the title, such as Sergei Krikalev, had also received the Soviet hero title, along with the Order of Lenin.[12] Most of the cosmonaut double heroes were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of Russia titles "for successful realization of flight and the courage and heroism shown."[13]

Outside of those two groups, athletes and other civilian and military officials have also received the title. Notable examples include:

  • Submarine captain Gennady Lyachin, of the Kursk, which sank after an explosion in 2000. Due to his heroism during the explosion and his attempts at preserving the lives of the crew, Lyachin was posthumously awarded the title, and the members of his crew were awarded with the Order of Courage.[14]
  • Athlete Larisa Lazutina was presented with the title for various medals won at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.[15]
  • Athlete Alexander Karelin, was honored with the title for his Olympic success in wrestling.[16]
  • Arktika 2007 expedition members Anatoly Sagalevich, Yevgeny Chernyaev and Artur Chilingarov, who, on January 10, 2008, performed the first ever descent to the ocean bottom at the North Pole. Awarded the title "for courage and heroism showed in extremal conditions and successful completion of High-Latitude Arctic Deep-Water Expedition."[17]
  • Weapons designer Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47 assault rifle and PK machine gun. He received the honor on his 90th birthday, November 10, 2009.[18]
  • Sniper Dmitri Zaitsev, showed courage in combat, rescued 5 servicemen under heavy sniper, machine-gun and mortar fire during the Second Chechen War. Received on 3 August 2012.

The medal has been awarded posthumously approximately 340 times, primarily to people involved in the first and second wars in Chechnya. One of the more recent posthumous awards was made by President Dmitry Medvedev to Evgeny Chernyshov, the chief of the Moscow fire department on March 24, 2010. Chernyshov died March 20, 2010 saving others' lives.

See also

  • Awards and decorations of the Russian Federation
  • Awards and Emblems of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
  • Awards of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia
  • Awards of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation
  • Awards of the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation
  • Awards of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of Russia
  • Ministerial Awards of the Russian Federation


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Law of the Russian Federation of March 20, 1992 No 2553-1" (in Russian). Commission under the President of the Russian Federation on state awards. 1999-12-15. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. "Resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union of May 5, 1934" (in Russian). Wikisource. 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  5. "Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of August 1, 1939" (in Russian). Wikisource. 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  6. "Государственные награды России: Из Конституции Российской Федерации" (in Russian). Retrieved 2005-09-30. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of September 7, 2010 No 1099" (in Russian). Russian Gazette. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  8. "Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of December 16, 2011 No 1631" (in Russian). Russian Gazette. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Statute and description of the Gold Star medal of Hero of the Russian Federation" (in Russian). Commission under the President of the Russian Federation on state awards. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  10. [3]
  11. "Kadyrov Named Hero of Russia". Archived from the original on 2005-02-11. Retrieved 2005-10-01. [dead link]
  12. "Cosmonaut Bio: Sergei K. Krikalev (10/2005)". Retrieved 2005-10-05. 
  13. "Герой Советского Союза, Герой России Поляков Валерий Владимирович" (in Russian). Retrieved 2005-10-05. 
  14. Felgenhauer, Pavel. "Drowning Reality of Kursk" (in Russian). Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 2001-03-09. Retrieved 2005-10-05. 
  15. "The Voice of Russia ( Olympic Games 2002 )". Archived from the original on 2005-08-31. Retrieved 2005-10-06. 
  16. "Summer Olympics 2000 Champion turned politician seeks fourth gold". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  17. "Президент России | Указ "О награждении государственными наградами Российской Федерации"" (in Russian). Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  18. Tkachenko, Maxim (2009-11-11). "Kalashnikov gun designer turns 90". CNN World. Retrieved 2010-08-12. "On Tuesday the legendary weapons designer turned 90. It was a day celebrated in Russia on a scale akin to a national holiday." 

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