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Official website of the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival
28 November 2019

For Service and Bravery. The 250th Anniversary of the Order of Saint George

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December 6, 2019 Moscow’s State Historic Museum will see the grand opening of the For Service and Bravery. The 250th Anniversary of the Order of Saint George exhibition dedicated to the most prestigious military decoration of the Russian Empire. The Directorate of the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival has the honor to be the official partner of the exhibition.

The Order of Saint George was originally established November 26 (December 7) 1769 by Empress Catherin the Great. It’s worth noting that it was the first decoration of the Russian Empire awarded to all military men that excelled in their service despite their origins. The choice of Saint George as the order guardian, its neat and clean forms as well as ideas standing behind the order awarding have deeply influenced the whole award system of the country.

History of the order awarding is synonymous with Russia’s glorious military history, while the battle-hardener red-wat decoration itself is the symbol of immense bravery and endless fortitude of the Russian army. The Cross of Saint George on a soldier’s or officer’s chest signifies that serving the Fatherland is of outmost importance for him. It was awarded not for the noble breed or battle wounds but for the proper service and duty performance as outlined by the loyalty oath, honor and dignity.

For Service and Bravery exhibition of the State Historic Museum is paying tribute to all those people whose heart and bravery, generalship and heroic deeds outlined the course of history.

The first part of the exposition tells visitors about the history of the order establishment. European military orders that sat as prototypes for the country’s top military decoration as well as Russian awards preceding the Saint George Order may be seen among the show items. Portrait of Catherine II by Fyodor Rokotov, distinguished Russian painter, is one of the central pieces of this part of the exposition.

Another part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history and development of the order award system that in length of time has included insignia for lower ranks, medallions on ribbons in the colors of Saint George (orange and black), Saint George silver tubes, award weapons, flags and standards. The dinnerware set produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory in the colors of Saint George and dedicated to the Russian Empire decorations definitely deserves your attention.

The portrait gallery of heroes and prominent people, excelled in the nineteenth century military campaigns and World War I and awarded the Order of Saint George, is the central part of the exhibition.

Besides, visitors may witness the examples of decorations of the Civil War (1018–1922) period featuring Saint George Crosses of the Interim Government, and insignia of the White Movement on Saint George ribbons which exterior is similar with the original order.

Despite the abolishment of the award system of the Russian Empire the new government of the Soviet Russia borrowed a lot of its elements. Thus, the Order of Glory is a very close model of the Saint George Cross, while their ribbons are almost identical.

The modern history of the Order of Saint George is represented by private collection items featuring among others the Russian Federation Hero medallion of the General v. A. Shamanov, one of the first Saint George Order companions who was decorated in the Russian Federation.

Hence, visitors of the For Service and Bravery. The 250th Anniversary of the Order of Saint George exhibition will have an opportunity to witness the unique items provided by the State Historic Museum, Moscow Kremlin Museums, Ryazan History and Archeology Museum as well as private collections. Besides, following the orders of the Government of the Russian Federation the State Precious Metals and Gems Repository of Russia will extend the State Historic Museum its related items.

Furthermore, the exhibition has led to issuing a special edition telling about the history of the order and its place in the country’s award system, about the great deeds of the Saint George Order companions on land and sea, as well as about the renaissance of this symbol of military glory, honor and dignity in modern Russia.