The Order of
Saint George was a solely Military order established by Empress Catherine II
on November 26, 1769 and was reserved for officers who performed outstanding
acts of gallantry in the field of battle.
The statutes were very explicit that the Order would only
awarded for acts of bravery in the field. These statutes have been strictly
adhered to throughout the history; hence, it is held in very
high regard by the Russian military and abroad.
Award of the Order required that one first qualify for the
four classes in succession, starting with the 4th class and working one's way
upwards with further valorous acts.
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The regalia of the
The Order of Saint George consisted of :
The Order of Saint George Badge First, Second,
Third and Fourth Classes: A gold-rimmed, white-enamelled cross with
a central medallion depicting St. George, mounted on his charger,
slaying the dragon. St. George usually faced right; versions do exist with
the mounted Saint facing left. Until 1830, the background of the centre
medallion was pink and then red. The Order of St. George badges were all the
same in basic design, differing only in dimensions: The First Class Badge
would be mounted on the left hip suspended by a sash worn across the chest
from the right shoulder; the Second and Third Class Badges by a ribbon cravat
from the neck and the fourth class badge, as a badge/medal.
The Order of Saint George, 1st
Class Badge - approx. 55 mm. x 55 mm.:
The Order of Saint George, 2nd
Class Badge - approx. 47 mm. x 47 mm.;
The Order of Saint George, 3rd
Class Badge - approx. 40 mm. x 40 mm:
The Order of Saint George,
4th Class Badge - approx. 35 mm. x 35 mm:
2. St. George's Cross with Bough:
As an elegant compromise, where officers performed an outstanding act of
valor that did not qualify for the Order of St. George 4th Class but was
still very noteworthy, these officers could be awarded the St. George's Cross
4th Class with Laurels.
The Order of Saint George Stars First & Second Class: The stars of the
Order were four-pointed with a pink, red or yellow centre. The central
medallion bore the cipher "S.G." surrounded by the inscription that
translates approximately as "For Service and Bravery." The average diameter
of the Stars is 87 mm. The two classes were similar in appearance, the
First Class having slightly heavier rays with up-turned points at the four
ordinal corners and the Second Class, simpler with straight ordinal rays.
At the Tsar's discretion, award of the First
Class could be made with Brilliants for bravery that led to a decisive
victory of a major battle. Similarly, an intermediate award, the Second Class
with Diamonds, could be awarded on occasion of an act of valor that did not
quite qualify for presentation of a First Class award.
As an economy measure, the awards with
diamonds were discontinued in the middle of the 19th Century and replaced by
the star surmounted by a crown.
The Order of Saint George Badges for Long Service: A special award for long service were
awarded for 25 years service in the Imperial Army. Similarly,
officers of the Imperial Navy could receive an award for 18 campaigns at
sea; very rarely an award was presented for 20 campaigns.
5. The Order of St. George Special
Manchurian Unit (OMO) 4th Class: During the Russian Civil
War, officers of the Special Manchurian Unit, led by Ataman Grigory
Semyonov, received a modified Order of St. George 4th Class for acts
of extreme bravery.
6. The Provisional
Government Order of St. George 4th Class with (Laurel) Bough:
Following the abdication of Nicholas II in 1917, a Provisional Government
was set up in Petrograd under Prince Georgy L'vov and then by Alexander
Kerensky. During that period, officers who had performed acts of
bravery were presented with the Order of St. George 4th Class with