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Order of Lenin
The Order of Lenin, type 1
Awarded by the  Soviet Union
Type Single-grade order
Eligibility Citizens of the Soviet Union; foreigners; institutions, enterprises and collectives
Awarded for
  • outstanding services rendered to the State,
  • exemplary service in the armed forces,
  • promoting friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace, and
  • 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 (higher) Hero of the Soviet Union
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,
  • Members of the armed forces for exemplary service,
  • Those who promoted friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace
  • Those with 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 Labour" were also given the order as part of the award. It was also bestowed on cities, companies, factories, regions, military units and ships. Corporate entities, factories, various educational institutions and military units who received the said Order applied the full name of the order into their official titles.

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


The first design of the Order of Lenin was sculpted by Pyotr Tayozhny and Ivan Shadr based on sketches by Ivan Dubasov. It was made by Goznak 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" (Russian: СССР) in red enamel. Only about 800 of this design were minted. It was awarded between 1930-1932.[1]

The second, design was awarded in 1934 till 1936. 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 (Russian: ЛЕНИН). A red star is placed on the left and the "hammer and sickle" emblem at the bottom, both in red enamel.

The third design was awarded from 1936–43

The fourth design was awarded from 1943 till the end of the USSR.

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]

A total of 431,418 orders were awarded in total, with the last on 21 December 1991.

Most frequent

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

Notable organizational and regional recipients

  • All fifteen republics of the Soviet Union
  • Komsomol, the Young Communist League
  • LOMO, Leningrad Optical-Mechanical Corporation
  • ZIL, automobile manufacturer
  • Kryvorizhstal, massively successful and profitable steel mill
  • Moscow Region
  • Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper
  • Pravda newspaper
  • Cities of Moscow, Donetsk, and Yekaterinburg
  • 62nd Army for extraordinary valor in the defence of Stalingrad

Notable individual recipients

  • Nelson Mandela (South African President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient)
  • Álvaro Cunhal Portuguese politician and writer. He was instrumental to overthrow the fascist dictatorial regime of Estado Novo.
  • Sergey Afanasyev (Soviet "Space Minister", awarded 7 times)
  • Aziz Aliyev (Azerbaijani and Dagestani politician and scientist, awarded 2 times)
  • Clyde Armistead and William Latimer Lavery (American air mechanics awarded for participation in search and rescue operations of the steamship Cheliuskin[4])
  • Valeriy Borzov (Soviet Ukrainian sprinter)
  • Emilian Bukov (Soviet writer for the Moldavian SSR, awarded 2 times)
  • Fidel Castro (Cuban leader)
  • Konstantin Chelpan (Chief designer of the T-34 tank engine)
  • Sripat Amrit Dange (Indian Communist leader who had strongly endorsed pro-Soviet views.)[5]
  • Sergei Eisenstein (film director)
  • Roza Eldarova (Chairwoman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Dagestan ASSR, member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR)
  • Muhammed Faris (Syrian research cosmonaut, July 30, 1987)
  • Yuri Gagarin (Cosmonaut, first human being in outer space)
  • Israel Gelfand (Soviet mathematician, awarded 3 times)
  • Pinkhus Turjan (Soviet Captain)
  • Otto Grotewohl (former prime minister of GDR)
  • Armand Hammer (American businessman and philanthropist)
  • Erich Honecker (former leader of GDR)
  • Sergey Ilyushin (Soviet pilot and aircraft designer, awarded 8 times)
  • Wojciech Jaruzelski (former leader of People's Republic of Poland)
  • Mikhail Kalashnikov (designer of the AK-47 assault rifle)
  • Nikita Khrushchev (Chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars, Soviet Union)
  • Igor Kurchatov (physicist, leader of the Soviet atomic bomb project, awarded 5 times)
  • Yanka Kupala (Belarusian poet, for the book «Ад сэрца» [From the heart])
  • Vladimir Komarov (Cosmonaut, first cosmonaut to fly in space twice and first man to die on a space mission, awarded twice)
  • Vladimir Konovalov (Sub-commander and admiral, awarded 3 times)
  • Alexei Krylov (Russian naval engineer, applied mathematician and memoirist, awarded 3 times)
  • Luigi Longo (Italy) Political commissar of the XII International Brigade in Spain (1936-1938), deputy commander of the Freedom Volunteers Corp (1943-1945) and secretary (1964-1972) and president (1972-1980) of the Italian Communist Party.
  • Fariza Magomadova (Chechen boarding school director and pioneer for women's education)
  • Kirill Mazurov (Belarusian Soviet politician)
  • Boris Mikhailov (Soviet ice hockey team captain in 1970s and 1980s)
  • Shoista Mullodzhanova (Bukharian Jewish Shashmakom singer)
  • Alexander Morozov (designer of the T-64 tank)
  • Yelena Mukhina (gymnast, 1960–2006)
  • Rahmon Nabiyev (First Secretary of the Communist party of Tajikistan, later president of Tajikistan)
  • Alexander Nadiradze (Soviet Georgian scientist who developed the first mobile ICBM systems)
  • Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egyptian president)
  • Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher (Soviet spy)
  • Fyodor Okhlopkov (World War II hero)
  • Nikolai Ostrovsky (Soviet author, 1904–1936)
  • Lyudmila Pavlichenko (Soviet sniper World War II)
  • Mausuza Vanakhun (Soviet military officer, Dungan national hero)
  • Yevgeny Pepelyaev (fighter pilot in the Korean War
  • Kim Philby (British/Soviet double agent)
  • Konstantin Rokossovsky (World War II Marshal of the Soviet Union, awarded 7 times)
  • Arnold Rüütel (Estonian communist leader, later president of the independent Estonia)
  • Anatoly Sagalevich (underwater explorer, creator of the MIR DSV)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich (Soviet composer, awarded three times)
  • Ivan Sidorenko (Soviet sniper World War II)
  • Sergey Spasokukotsky (surgeon and member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, 1870–1943)
  • Nikolay Sutyagin (fighter pilot in World War II and Korean War)
  • Semyon Timoshenko (World War II general, awarded 5 times)
  • Josip Broz Tito (President of Yugoslavia 1945–1980)[6]
  • Gherman Titov (Cosmonaut, awarded twice)
  • Vladislav Tretiak (Soviet ice hockey goaltender)
  • Aleksandr Vasilevsky (Soviet marshal, awarded 8 times)
  • Pyotr Vershigora (Soviet major general and writer, Soviet partisan leader during World War II)
  • Pham Tuan (Vietnamese cosmonaut)
  • Vladislav Volkov (Cosmonaut)
  • Kliment Voroshilov (Marshal of the Soviet Union)
  • Lev Yashin (Soviet football goalkeeper)
  • Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev (Soviet sniper during the Battle of Stalingrad)
  • Yakov Zel'dovich (Soviet physicist)
  • Georgy Zhukov (Marshal of the Soviet Union)
  • Lyudmila Zykina (folk singer)
  • Joseph Stalin (1949)
  • Anatoly Karpov (World Chess Champion)
  • Sergei Krikalev (Cosmonaut, person with most time in space)
  • Vasili Mikhailovich Blokhin (Soviet most prolific official executioner in recorded world history)

Fictional recipients

In the James Bond film A View to a Kill, Bond is awarded the Order of Lenin. He is described as the first foreign recipient. The first real foreign recipient was Luigi Longo.

In IPC publication's Battle Picture Weekly one character 'Johnny Red' is awarded the order of Lenin for Saving the life of a political Commissar from a German Air Ace.

In the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indy's nemesis Col. Irina Spalko was awarded three times with the Order of Lenin. She was also awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor for her research into psychic warfare.

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
  4. The Junior Aircraft Year Book, 1935, p. 8.
  5. Obituary reference in the Indian Parliament
  6. Tito's Home Page - With world leaders

External links

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