Military Review

C George on the chest. Cavaliers of the Order of St. George on the fronts of the First World War

C George on the chest. Cavaliers of the Order of St. George on the fronts of the First World War

December 9 2013 was restored in Russia in the tradition of honoring Russian heroes. A ceremonial reception was held at the Grand Kremlin Palace in the Georgievsky Hall, which was attended by the President of Russia and the Supreme Commander V.V. Putin

Addressing the audience, he said: “Today is the Day of the Heroes of the Fatherland in our country. We are honoring people who have particularly distinguished themselves in the military arena, who have made a great contribution to strengthening the security of Russia, who have committed courageous deeds. Our people from time immemorial honors and remembers their heroes. Visible evidence of this is the walls of this ceremonial hall, on which thousands of famous names are carved in gold - the holders of the highest Russian military award, the Order of St. George. St. George ribbon has become a symbol of soldierly valor, a symbol of victory. With an invisible thread, she binds us to our glorious ancestors, who did not spare either their strength or their own life for the Fatherland. ”

The beginning of the revival of the tradition was laid in 2007, when the Decree of 24 dec. V.V. Putin made changes to the Federal Law "On Days of Military Glory and Memorable Dates of Russia", setting December 9 as the Day of Heroes of the Fatherland.

The Statute of the Order of St. George the Victorious - the highest military award of the Russian Federation - was approved by presidential decree of 8 in August 2000. Starting from 9 in December 2007, in Russia at the state level are honored the Heroes of the Soviet Union, the Heroes of the Russian Federation, the gentlemen of the Order of St. George the Victorious and Order of Glory.

It took 90 years for Russia to return this, the most important military holiday of the Russian Empire, which was held last time by Knight of the Order of St. George of the IV degree, Sovereign Emperor and Supreme Commander of the Russian Army Nicholas II on November 26 (December 9 in new style) in 1916. .

During the First World War, the Order of Saint George of the I Degree was not given, and the II Degree was awarded to four Russian military leaders: the commanders of the fronts, Generals N.N. Yudenich, N.I. Ivanov, N.V. Ruzsky and Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich Junior (prior to 1915, the former Supreme Commander of the Russian Army), III degree received 53 man, and IV degree almost 4 thousands of people.

And what heroism simple warriors have shown in this war! Here is an inaccurate (due to the death of archives and confusion in the revolutionary chaos after 1917) the number of the Knights of the Cross of St. George during the First World War:

St George's crosses of I degree - around 33 000;

St George's crosses of the II degree - around 65 000;

St George's crosses of III degree - around 289 000;

St George's crosses of the IV degree - near 1 200 000.

In 1913, before the beginning of the Great War 1914-1918. Nicholas II, anticipating large-scale hostilities of the Russian army, changed the statute of the Order of St. George. The emperor understood the significance for the soldiers of this award and expanded its use in the conditions of modern military operations and the socio-political situation. In addition, he expanded the benefits for the St. George Cavaliers: preferential travel "by means of communication", the annual two-month leave with maintenance and other economic benefits.

His decisions had a significant impact on the course of the war, which was served by the age-old traditions of this major military award in stories Russia.

The history of St. George Awards and St. George's Day began in the XVIII century, when Catherine II on St. George the Victorious (St. George’s Day), November 26 (December New Style 9) 1769, founded the Imperial Military Order of the Holy Great Martyr and Victorious St. (Order of Saint George).

This order had four degrees and was intended to distinguish the officers and generals of the Russian army for services and deeds on the battlefield. In the entire military history of Russia, this order was awarded to about 15 thousand people (there are several historical lists with different data), of which only four became holders of all four degrees.

The first knight of the Order of St. George became the great Russian commander Peter Alexandrovich Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky in August 1770 for a brilliant victory over the Turkish army at Larga and Kagul.

All gentlemen of this order received the rights of a hereditary nobleman, which was conceived by Catherine the Great to attract the most worthy people to the ruling class of Russia who proved loyalty to their Motherland on the battlefield. In order to select candidates for this award, the Duma of the Order of St. George was created, composed of Georgians. She was supposed to consider the cases of officers represented at the reception of the order, and only awarding orders of the second and first degree with orders was made according to the empress’s assertion without consideration of cases in the Duma.

In 1807, given the outstanding feats of Russian soldiers and non-commissioned officers, who often took command after the death of officers, the Insignia of Military Order was established for the lower ranks, ranked as the Order of St. George. The insignia will later acquire the name “soldier George” in society and will be no less respected than the officer’s order. In the tradition of the Russian army was the award of golden cold weapons with the inscription “For Bravery”, therefore, a lanyard (cord or brush on the cold weapon hilt) was affixed to it from the St. George ribbon and officially equated to the Order of St. George.

It is interesting to create the St. George ribbon as an element of the order. October 18 1787 soldiers of the great Suvorov, especially distinguished themselves in the reflection of the Turks from the Kinburn Spit, were awarded silver medals with the inscription "Kinburn, 1 October 1787 g.", Worn on a striped St. George ribbon. The presentation of awards on the St. George ribbon to Alexander I’s reign resumed. When he entered the throne, he said: “Everything will be as if I were my grandmother” and in 1804, silver medals were handed out to the lower ranks on the St. George ribbon with the inscription: “For work and courage when taking Ganji Genvary 1804 of the Year. ” St. George ribbons were used as an honorary element of St. George flags and standards. From 8 July 1878, the sailors of the Naval Guards crew began to wear black and orange St. George ribbons with inscriptions “Guards crew” on their capless caps.

Taking into account the feats of the soldiers of the Russian army of other religions, since 1844, the Badge of the Order was approved for officers of the non-Christian faith. For officers of other religions, a version of the Order was provided, replacing the image of St. George with the coat of arms of the Russian Empire. But the unexpected happened. Many of the rewarded warriors of the Caucasus refused to receive the order of the new form, saying that they needed an order with a jigit (Saint George), and not with a bird. This phenomenon was especially widespread among Caucasian officers who served in the Guards regiments. For them, the Order of St. George was sacred both as a military reward and as a symbol of the officer brotherhood.

Two famous halls dedicated to the Order of St. George were created in Russia: the Georgievskiy Hall in the Winter Palace and the Georgievskiy Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, where from April 11 1849 it was decided to perpetuate the names of the St. George Cavaliers and military units on the marble boards between the hall columns. Today, they have over 11 thousands of officers who have been awarded various degrees of the order from 1769 to 1885 a year.

Few people know that another St. George's Hall was created with memorial plaques, which immortalized the names of the St. George Cavaliers in the General Staff Building at the Palace Square of St. Petersburg. During the revolutionary events of 1917, all these white marble plaques with the gold-plated names of military heroes - officers and generals of the General Staff - were mercilessly smashed with the butts of rifles of the revolutionary crowd. In 2003, the boards were recreated by Petersburg military architects and artists by order of the command of the troops of the Leningrad Military District to the 300 anniversary of St. Petersburg.

St. George awards are deeply revered by all layers of the Russian people. Such military awards, according to its statute, did not exist in other armies of the world.

These military orders and insignia were awarded for feats only during the period of hostilities for which communications, ranks and wealth were useless.

Particular, through the St. George's Duma, the order of presentation to this high military award prevented any influence on the result of the award. The Duma worked especially thoroughly during the First World War, in the conditions of battles with the use of new military equipment and tactics.

Each commander of a separate unit had the right to submit to the St. George Award officers subordinate to him. The submission should have been accompanied by numerous documents certifying the validity of the accomplished feat and the indisputable value of its consequences. These were the testimony of eyewitnesses to the event, and official assessments of the specific results of the accomplishment. When a sufficient number of such representations accumulated at the headquarters of the army, the army commander convened the St. George Duma, appointing officers as its members — the St. George Cavaliers of various branches of service and various units that make up the army. The award was approved by the emperor and, under his authority, by the commanders of the armies, but only in accordance with the decree of the St. George Duma. The senior commander chaired the Duma, usually the general, the corps commander, with full equality of votes, where the difference in ranks did not matter. To approve the award ceremony, a majority in 2 / 3 of the votes of the Duma participants was needed. At the end of the Duma session, its chairman sent a list of award-winning officers to army headquarters. Here is an example of a meeting of such a Duma according to the recollection of one of the participants in the First World War: “... in the first Duma we were 12 members, of which one was general, eight head officers and three chief officers. As a junior in rank, I was invited to be secretary and speaker. All submissions concerned the “expansion” of the original Brusilov breakthrough. It was decided to consider the submissions not in parts, but in battles, that is, the submissions for each individual fight or operation from all units that took part in them were considered collectively.

This made it possible to establish which part, the battalion or the company, did the most difficult and decisive, and the candidates of this part quite logically received more awards than others.

So, for example, the Karsky Infantry Regiment, the first to break through the Austrian heavily fortified position and break the enemy’s resistance, was unanimously awarded by the Duma most of the awards. Of course, in other parts of the most worthy were awarded, but not all. The officer of the Kars regiment, who took only one machine gun and two or three dozen prisoners, received a unanimous cross, the officer of the other part, who took, or rather “picked up” five or six machine guns abandoned by Austrians running in panic, and seized one or two hundred prisoners , the cross is very often not honored ... In 1914-1915's. award order of sv. George was comparatively rare, and the order was given only for truly exceptional feats ... Military officers, and especially young ones, were on guard of the price and dignity of the "white cross" and did not award him to anyone who was patronized. Only the dead were given a cross without a debate, - as a consolation to their relatives. ”

Understanding the social significance of the rank of St. George cavaliers and their fighting qualities, military units began to be created in the Russian Empire, all the officers of which were holders of the Order of St. George. So, 14 December 1774 was promulgated by the decree of Catherine II: “We all the most graciously deign We are now called the 3 Cuirassier Regiment to call the Military Order of the Holy Great Martyr and Conqueror George the Victorious by the regiment…”. The second such regiment was the 13-th Dragoon Military Order Regiment, whose uniforms began to match the order colors. It was the only regiment of the Russian army that wore a St. George star on a helmet and officer officer (special box or bag, from a set of equipment intended for combat supplies). During World War I, in 1916, a unit was formed, composed exclusively of Georgians' cavaliers - a battalion to guard the Supreme Commander’s Headquarters. 22 of July of that year, for the battalion, special differences were introduced: St. George crosses were put on cockades and order colors were introduced on shoulder straps, buttonholes, overcoat collars, sweatshirts on tunics, jackets and wide trousers.

In 1917, when Russia was confronted by a military and political catastrophe, various St. George formations began to be hastily created. The famous Company of the Palace grenadier 15 April 1917, was renamed the St. George Grenadier Company.

The new Supreme Commander-in-Chief, General L.G. 12 Kornilov August 1917 orders the beginning of the formation of the St. George infantry reserve regiments in Pskov, Minsk, Kiev and Odessa - one for each front. But these were already unsuccessful attempts to save the military situation in the country.

The introduction of the Order of St. George was reflected in the award system of collective military awards - banners, trumpets, etc.

By 1914, from 208 regiments of army infantry 148 had St. George's banners, and from 56 army cavalry - 31 St. George standards.

In addition to the personal and collective awards of St. George in the Russian Empire, he was publicly known and especially honored by the main military holiday of the Russian army - the Day of St. George Knights. This holiday, celebrated on November 26 (December 9 until n. Art.) On the day of the establishment of the Order of St. George the Victorious, was not only a celebration of the whole Russian army, but also a truly national celebration.

The first holidays in honor of the Knights of St. George took place only in St. Petersburg, in the Winter Palace. But gradually they spread throughout Russia and became a celebration of military units awarded for military distinctions by St. George banners and standards, St. George pipes and St. George's buttonholes, as well as all officers and lower ranks who earned the statute of the Order of St. George, St. George’s golden weapons and Georgiev’s soldiers, and received St. George’s golden arms and Georgiev’s statutes. . One of the constant participants of the holidays in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the twentieth century, the hero of the First World War, officer of the Life Guards of the Horse-Grenadier Regiment N. Voronovich recalled in emigration: “The officers who arrived at the palace gathered in the Historical Gallery 1812 of the Tsar , bypassing the gentlemen and giving each of them a hand. On the right flank of the gentlemen of the Order of St.. Georgy became, relying on a stick, the oldest Georgievsky gentleman in the Russian army, engineer-general Rerberg. And on the right flank of the officers who had a badge of distinction of a military order - the commander of the l. Dragunsky regiment Count F.A. Keller, the former orderly Skobelev, awarded the crosses 3-th and 4-th degree. After the Tsar walked around the “birthdays”, the officers went to the St. George Hall in pairs to the sounds of the Preobrazhensky march, where the troops saluted them. For the gentlemen was the sovereign. From the palace church to the lectern placed in the middle of the hall came the clergy, headed by the St. Petersburg metropolitan. After the moleben and the sprinkling of the banners, the troops marched before the King in a ceremonial march. This ended the first part of the celebration. The generals and officers received an invitation to appear at 7 hours of the evening at the Winter Palace for a grand dinner, and the lower ranks immediately after the parade gathered at the People’s House of Emperor Nicholas II. In the huge hall of the National House, a long row of tables was covered with snow-white tablecloths, on which plates and mugs with the images of the State Emblem, St. George's Cross and Emperor's monogram were placed.

Before the tables, 2.000 of St. George's gentlemen gathered: gray-bearded grenadiers of the palace in historical caftans and bear caps, veterans of the Turkish wars in frock coats of Izmailovo poorhouse and retired from all over Russia.

At the St. George's dinner in the People's House, all who wished to have the cavaliers of the military order insignia could come from the province, and the district military commanders were obliged to give them "letters A" for free use of railways. Few of them were in military uniform, most of them were in jackets and coasters, but St. George's crosses and medals glittered on everyone's chest in memory of the wars in which they participated. The Tsar who came to the People’s House greeted the gentlemen and drank a cup of vodka for their health, after which he invited his guests to taste his bread and salt. After the departure of the King began the feast. The gentlemen were surrounded by vodka, and on the table were the jans with kvass, beer and honey. Lunch consisted of pie, soup, fried and sweet cake. And after lunch, according to a long-established custom, each gentleman tied up his device in a napkin — a plate and a mug — taking him as a souvenir of the royal dinner. At the seventh hour, the generals and officers invited to the royal table gathered in the Winter Palace. In addition to the Knights of St. George, none of the dignitaries and courtiers to the highest table on this day was invited. Before each device lay the art menu and cards with the rank and name of the guest. The sovereign took a seat at one of the round tables, set for six people each. During dinner, the King talked animatedly with the gentlemen who were sitting at his table, and when champagne was poured in glasses, he got up and drank to the health of those present. After lunch, the guests went into the next room, where coffee was served and where the Sovereign once again bypassed the St. George Cavaliers, saying goodbye to them ...

None of the foreign army did not have such holidays. Abroad, all military celebrations are strictly official. Our St. George's holidays, despite their front side, were distinguished by their national character and truly democratic simplicity.

Not only the capital, where every St. Petersburg citizen considered it his duty to leave November 26 on Nevsky Prospekt or Palace Square to admire the banner companies of the Guards regiments and greet and treat neighbors and fellow villagers at the end of the dinner at the People’s House, but also in the provincial towns and villages. their St. George cavaliers. "

These annual St. George receptions were very significant both for emperors and for all of Russia. On this tradition stood the unity of the army with the ruling authorities and with the Russian people, as well as its internal unity, based on the equality of all the soldiers in the feat and the shedding of blood to the glory of the Fatherland.

The First World War radically changed the entire social and further political life in Russia. But, despite the battles and hard work in the rear, the army and the population tried to celebrate the beloved Day of the St. George Cavaliers. In view of the wartime, the main state celebrations of this holiday were transferred from Petrograd to the headquarters of the Supreme Commander. The emperor wrote in his diary 1916 g.: “26 November. St. George's holiday. A strong thaw continued. K 10 hour. on the landing in front of the house were built: officers - George cavaliers, one from the corps and sub-ensigns, two from each corps, a new battalion for the Headquarters from Georg. kav and from the wounded, platoons from the Vault. n. and convoy, gendarmes and police. After the prayer and the church. march went to the report. In 12 hour. Lunch began to all the lower ranks in the building surrounded. court, and in 12 1 / 2 breakfast Georgievsk. gentlemen in the city duma. It was nice to see so many young heroes together. In two rooms fit 170 people. I talked to everyone. He returned to his 3 hours.

Preserved evidence of the celebration of this day in Arkhangelsk during the Great War. On the eve of the holiday, November 25, 1916, funeral services for the fallen heroes of the Second World War were served in all parish churches. On November 26, after the liturgy and a solemn prayer in the Cathedral on Cathedral Square, a parade of local military units took place - the companies of the Arkhangelsk squad and the Arkhangelsk naval half crew. The parade was attended by high school students of local educational institutions with a music orchestra of the Lomonosov gymnasium. On the way of the cavaliers of St. George, the residents of the city greeted them with national and St. George flags. Then, in the City Duma, the reception of the St. George Knights took place. After that, in the cinema, one of the local teachers gave them a lecture on the significance of the St. George holiday, on the establishment of the Order of St. George. In addition, starting from Saturday evening, November 26, and all day on November 27 in Arkhangelsk there was a circle gathering for the formation of a fund for the upbringing and education of children of the fallen St. George gentlemen.

Remembering the famous names of the Great War, one should not forget about ordinary officers, whose feats of arms, in their spiritual meaning, are comparable to the merits of outstanding generals of the Russian army. This also applies to posthumous awards.

In historical sources, more than 200 cases are noted when the description of the feat ends with the words: “With his death he captures the heroic feat”.

This award for the 1915 year alone has been met 57 times in archival documents. In June 1916, the commander of the 183 Infantry Regiment of the Pultussky Colonel Yevgeny Govorov, as written in the presentation for the award, “rushed at the head of his subordinates to attack the enemy's gun battery, with a battle took it, but he died killed by a bullet, imprinting a glorious death committed heroic deed ". Govorov was posthumously promoted to major general and in this rank was awarded the Order of Saint George of the III degree. The feat of a member of the royal family, the cornet of the Life Guards of His Majesty of the Hussars, Prince Oleg Konstantinovich Romanov, one of the five who went to the front, the sons of the general and the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Romanov (a famous Russian poet who wrote poetry under the pseudonym "KR") is significant. His feat was recorded in the Emperor's Decree on awarding him with the Order of St. George of the IV degree: ".. for courage and bravery shown in attacking and destroying German reconnaissance, and His Highness first got to the enemy ...". Prince Oleg was badly wounded in this battle, and the hero-officer received the award before his death in the hospital from the hands of his father ...

A special place should be given to the massive exploits of the lower ranks of the Russian army - soldiers, non-commissioned officers, sub-ensigns, sailors, ordinary Cossacks, etc. They committed tens of thousands of exploits, very often replacing the dead officers. The first in time was the IV degree of St. George's Cross, which immediately became famous as a clerical (corporal) 3 of the Don Cossack Yermak Timofeyevich Kozma Kryuchkov regiment. After meeting with an enemy Cossack with four ordinary Cossacks from German cavalrymen 22, he personally killed the officer and several riders, all 11 enemies, while receiving 16 wounds. Already 11 August 1914, he was awarded the St. George Cross IV degree. Later, he became a full George Knight, and during the Civil War he was promoted to officer. Knight of St. George K. Kryuchkov fought with the Red Army in the ranks of the Don Army and died in battle in the summer of 1919.

George Cross No. 1 was left “at the discretion of His Imperial Majesty” and handed over later, on September 20 to 1914, to the ordinary 41 Infantry Regiment of the Selenginsky Regiment, Peter Cherny-Kovalchuk, who had seized the Austrian banner in battle.

For bravery in battles, the St. George Cross has been repeatedly awarded to Russian women - sisters of mercy and soldiers volunteers. Sister of Mercy Nadezhda Plaksina and Cossack Maria Smirnova deserved three such awards, and Sister of Mercy Antonina Palshina and Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Lina Chanka-Freudenfelde — two. Rimma Ivanova, the sister of mercy, who replaced the commander in the attack and died in this battle, was the only woman in Russia who was awarded the military order of St. George of the 4th degree.

An interesting document about a volunteer woman (hunter) of the Russian army has been preserved in the archives. In November 1914, according to the 3 Caucasian Army Corps, an order was given to the commander: “By my 6 November this year, the hunter 205 Infantry Regiment of the Shemakha regiment Anatoly Krasilnikov of the IV degree of St. George was awarded the number XXNXX, which is in the dressing station turned out to be the maiden Anna Alexandrovna Krasilnikova, a novice of the Kazan monastery. Having learned that her brothers, workers of the Artillery Plant, were taken to the war, she decided to put on all the soldiers and join the ranks of the aforementioned regiment ... Acting as a nurse, as well as participating in the battles, she, Krasilnikova, rendered military merit and showed rare courage, inspiring the company with which she had to work. ” In addition to being awarded the St. George Cross, Anna Krasilnikova was promoted to warrant officer and returned to her regiment after her recovery. At all times, boys who dreamed of exploits fled or attempted to flee to the front. Some of them succeeded in becoming military heroes and Georgievsky cavaliers there. Thus, the 16602-year-old volunteer of the machine-gun team of the 10 th Tiraspol infantry kidney Stepa Kravchenko was wounded twice and was awarded the St. George's Cross of IV degree for his salvation in the battle of the machine gun. And the 131-year-old volunteer Kolya Smirnov was captured and “for silence about the location and strength of his unit” received 12 strikes from the Germans. Later he escaped from captivity and in subsequent battles made several feats - brought the wounded officer out of the fire and delivered to the dressing station, and also captured a German officer. He was awarded the St. George Cross IV degree and two St. George medals.

During the First World War, 5000 Orthodox priests stayed on the fronts. General A.A. Brusilov in 1915, wrote:

"In those terrible counterattacks among the soldier's tunic, black figures flashed - regimental fathers, tucking their robes, in rough boots, walked with the soldiers, encouraging the timid with a simple Gospel word and behavior ... They remained there forever, on the fields of Galicia, without separating from the flock."

During the time from the beginning of the war to 1 on April 1915, Orthodox priests received: 4 Order of St. George the Victorious, IV degree, 1 Panagia on the St. George Ribbon, 12 gold pectoral crosses on the St. George Ribbon from the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty, 5, X-rayX, Xerox. swords, 9 orders of St. Vladimir IV degree with swords, 39 orders of St. Anna II degree with swords and 52 orders of St. Anna III degree with swords. All these awards were given for special combat differences. During the Great War 1914-1918. for the heroism shown about 2500 priests were awarded state awards. Here are just two examples of priests' exploits: October 16 1914, the priest of Prut, the linear barlayer, hieromonk of the Bugulma monastery, 70-year-old Anthony (Smirnov) died heroically. “When Prut began to dive during the battle, oh. Anthony stood on the deck and overshadowed his flock with his Holy Cross, who fought with death in the waves. He was offered to sit in the boat, but he, in order not to take place from his neighbor, refused. After that, he went down inside the ship and, putting on a robe, went to the deck with the Holy Cross and the Gospel in his hands and blessed his spiritual children once more, overshadowing them with the Holy Cross. And then he sank back inside the ship. Soon the ship disappeared under water ... ". 1 March 1915 The Provost of the 7 Finnish Rifle Regiment Fr. Sergei Sokolovsky was wounded by a rifle bullet in the thigh during a fight. For his feat, he was introduced by the commander of the 7 Finnish Regiment to the Order of St. George, IV degree. The second half of the war he, along with his regiment, fought on the Western Front and was nicknamed by the French for his bravery the "legendary priest", where he was wounded twice, the second time with the loss of his right hand. For this feat, accomplished in 1916, he was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor and the Military Cross of France.

They were awarded St. George crosses and Orders of St. George and foreigners who served in the Russian army.

This is the French negro Marcel Pla, full George Knights: French pilot Alfons Poiret and Czech Karel Vashatka, as well as other foreign volunteers. The St. George Duma rewarded them only for really proven feats. So Marcel Ple was taken for accuracy in shooting the most famous Russian military bomber plane “Ilya Muromets” and earned a reward for two enemy fighters shot down: “... The first fighter, having exceeded 150 m, launched an attack with an 300 m deletion. He in a dive opened fire. Almost simultaneously Pleh answered him. He spoke and the top machine gun. The German jumped to the side, turned over and began to fall randomly. Then went on the second attack. Plea did not let him take aim, and first opened fire. The fighter, without changing the angle of a dive, slipped past the “Muromts” and rushed to the ground. The third was a bit like circles, turned around and departed. Upon the return of “Muromts”, the entire squad congratulated the winners. ”

The February-October revolutionary events in Russia not only destroyed the Russian army and the Russian Empire with the ruling house of the Romanovs, but also dealt a strong, almost fatal blow to the centuries-old military traditions of the Russian army. At first, 24 June 1917, the new democratic authorities decided that soldiers and sailors who performed the duties of an officer in battle could be awarded the Order of the IV degree. In this case, the ribbon was decorated with a silver laurel branch. Then, after October 1917, the decree of the Council of People's Commissars “On equalization of all servicemen in rights” was issued, which abolished all the orders of Tsarist Russia, including the Order and the Cross of St. George, which had deliberately made all the George Cavaliers “enemies” people. "

Here is an extremely clear and precise document of the new government, interpreting the policy in relation to the St. George Cavaliers: “I hereby certify that the bearer of this is comrade. EE Smilga was indeed in Petrograd at the end of 1917 and the beginning of 1918, and by my direct leadership and decree took an active part in disarming the monarchist organization of the Union of St. George Cavaliers ... ”In addition, he was directly involved in carrying out a number of secret-order missions that I placed on him and his comrades in the arrest of the counter-revolutionary forces in Petrograd at the end of 1917 and the beginning of 1918. With communist greetings. Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich "

These actions of the new government were not unreasonable, most of the cavaliers of St. George did not accept Soviet power. From the first days of the arrival of the new rulers of Russia they declared war on them, and not only in Petrograd. Here is a document of the Kiev society of the Knights of St. George of that time.

Citizens !!!

It is the last hour of testing for our country. A bunch of people who have forgotten the duty of a Russian citizen, who have sold their honor, are trying to sell Russia to the enemy. The Provisional Revolutionary Government is overthrown, anarchy reigns in the country, destroying the last strongholds of state order, undermining the power of our front to the end. Citizens, then there is no power to endure! Enough party discord and endless friction, enough words, at least beautiful, it is time for beautiful things.

We, the cavaliers of St. George, who have proved our love for the motherland with our blood, we, who were ahead of the attacking chains, in this terrible moment, again stand in front of you and call for the holy battle for the Fatherland.

All those in whom the spark of patriotism has not faded, all those who cherish the honor of our country are boldly ahead with arms in their hands! Unite around us immediately, without wasting energy on fruitless disputes! Only by force it is possible to destroy the dark forces of enemies, only a quick, sharp blow can save the honor of the native country! Well stand together, close up in orderly rows and with faith in God, in our holy work, boldly forward us! The Executive Committee of the Union of St. George Knights of the Kiev Military District. (“Kievlyanin”, October 29 1917 g.)

These glories forced people to rally around experienced warriors, and this could not but disturb the new government. Moreover, her position was very precarious and she was taking every opportunity to consolidate her victory. The methods of revolutionary power have always been extremely cynical and for the sake of their goals, she was ready to ally even with her adversary.

At this time, 18 February 1918, launched by Germany and its allies, the attack on the Russian front, almost never met with serious resistance. The German commander, General Max Hoffman, who threw 53 divisions into empty Russian trenches, wrote: “This is the most comedic war I've ever seen: a small group of infantrymen with a machine gun and a gun on the front carriage goes from station to station, takes another group of Bolsheviks into captivity and follows on. " Small German troops without resistance occupied the city.

The tragedy of the situation is confirmed by the speech at the meeting of the Petrograd Council of 21 in February of Ensign Nikolai Krylenko, who held the post of Supreme Commander. Having found himself in the position of a general without an army, Krylenko was forced to confine himself to appeals "to resist the approaching Germans almost without a fight", declaring that "many military units ... retreat without resistance." 20 February, the Germans captured Minsk, February 25 took Revel, February 27 was left Mogilyov, where the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Russian army was located during the war years, and March March 1 - Kiev. In general, the consequences of the German offensive were catastrophic. More than 82 thousands of soldiers and officers were taken prisoner, the enemy captured colossal trophies: around 800 000 rifles, 10 000 machine guns, more 4000 guns, 152 airplane, 2100 locomotives, 100 million cartridges, about three million rounds and a huge amount of other military assets. The same situation was brewing on the northern front along the Narva-Pskov line. The General of the Russian Army Mikhail Bonch-Bruyevich, the elder brother of Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich, who was summoned from the Stavka with the approval of Lenin, was appointed head of the defense of Petrograd, Lieutenant-General Dmitry Parsky was charged with the responsible Narva sector. February 25 was formed detachment under the command of Colonel Iordan Pehlivanova, who was entrusted with the protection of a very important Pskov direction. The appointment of this military leader was a compromise solution for the new government. Iordan Georgiyevich Pehlivanov, a career officer of the Bulgarian and Russian armies, a graduate of the Nikolaev Academy of the General Staff, a participant in the First World War and a gentleman of the Order of Saint George of the IV degree, was attracted by Soviet military functionaries only because of his front-line experience and confidence of the troops, including its most combat-ready officers and soldiers - the St. George Knights. His feelings for the new government, like many officers of the old army, were expressed by the gentleman of the two orders of St. George, General Parsky, who said M. Bonch-Bruyevich: “You know, I am far from the socialism that the Bolsheviks preach. But I am ready to work honestly not only with them, but with anyone, even with the devil and the devil, just to save Russia from German enslavement ... ”.

The military situation near Petrograd for the new government was so dramatic that they were ready to send anyone to the front, as long as he expressed a desire to fight the enemy.

For a time, the Soviet authorities stopped the persecution of the St. Petersburg cavalier of St. Petersburg, freed them from custody and, having included the armored squad in the formation, sent them to the front.

Among them were the participants, prepared by the Union of St. George Cavaliers, the assassination attempt on Lenin, arrested at the end of January 1918. On a note about this B. Bonch-Bruevich Lenin, ready for any deal for his political goals, wrote: “Discontinue. Release. Send to the front.

At that time, a well-armed detachment in 1500, a man under the command of the People's Commissar for Maritime Affairs Pavel Dybenko, who was sent to defend Narva, dropped out of the position and, plunging into a train, fled to the rear. Historical facts, discovered by the staff of the Museum of Political History of Russia, make us think: in Pskov, surrendered virtually without a fight, in the evening of February 24, the enemy suffered the most significant losses during the entire war in this direction ... There are pictures of 1918, which captured on one of the pictures huge funnels filled with water. The inscription in the picture read: “The place of the explosion of pyroxylin warehouses, during which the battalion of German troops was destroyed. Pskov. February 24 1918. As it turned out, when the German battalion approached the warehouse, a successful sabotage was carried out - the car with explosives was blown up. From detonation, the warehouse blew up, and, as stated in one of the reports, "from 400 to 600, the Germans flew in different directions." According to others, the explosion killed 30 officers, 34 non-commissioned officers and 206 enemy soldiers. This very professional military sabotage and the entire course of further military operations allow us to support the version of a number of military historians, who consider the main driving force of the Russian units in the Pskov-Narva military operation, which became a public holiday - February February 23, the cavaliers of Georgians who have forgotten their political differences with the Soviet power, for the protection of freedom and honor of our Fatherland.

Such allied relations of political enemies quickly ended and turned into the most merciless civil war that humankind knew.

She split the corps of the St. George Cavaliers as well as the whole of Russia. Most of the Knights of St. George fought on the side of the whites, but they were in the Red Army. Some of them had outstanding military talents and became prominent Soviet commanders.

These are Marshals of the Soviet Union, former soldiers of the Russian Army: Private Rodion Malinovsky and Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Konstantin Rokossovsky, who received a St. George IV degree; Junior non-commissioned officer Georgy Zhukov, marked with crosses of III and IV degrees, full George cavalier, senior non-commissioned officer Semyon Budyonny, who had four crosses and four medals. The well-known red commander Vasily Chapaev deserved in the battles of the First World War three crosses of St. George.

While in Russia there was a Civil War 1918-1920. in the White Army practiced awarding the Order of St. George, with the exception of higher degrees, which claimed only the emperor. It was celebrated in the territories occupied by the white armies, and the Day of the St. George Cavaliers.

The cavaliers of St. George, who found themselves in emigration, continued to celebrate this holiday in foreign countries, and the Soviet authorities forced Russia to forget about the military order of St. George the Victorious, the St. George Cross and the Day of St. George Cavaliers for decades ...

It so happened that we remember our best military traditions, forgotten because of political feuds, when the enemy goes to the Fatherland. In 1612, civil strife is forgotten, and a united people, together with Russian soldiers, inspired by the national idea, expels the Polish occupiers. In 1812, Russian serfs, shoulder to shoulder with their landlords, destroy the invincible army of Napoleon, who encroached on Orthodox Russia. In 1941, all the people, regardless of their convictions and claims against the Soviet regime, united against the Hitlerite hordes, and one of the forces that led to victory over the enemy was the restoration of the memory of the traditions of the Russian army and its George Knights. The orders of the name of Russian commanders were approved and created - the gentlemen of the Order of St. George, began to produce military-patriotic films, in which St. George's gentlemen participated. In these difficult war years, the memory of the military victories of the Russian Empire, which spiritually united Soviet soldiers and soldiers of the Russian army, rose high.

In the Soviet army itself, there were tens of thousands of participants in the First World War, who shared with their fellow soldiers their front-line experience in the battles of 1914-1918. and many of them were George's Knights.

This state-public movement was reflected in the letter 1944.




Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin

From the professor of the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography ANOSHCHENKO Nikolai Dmitrievich

Our great Motherland has always highly appreciated the valor and heroism of its sons, who bravely defended it from invasion by foreign invaders *. The special honor, love and respect of our people since World War 1812 have always been enjoyed by the so-called George Knights, because only this military order was given to soldiers and officers not just for feats of arms in general, but only for those truly heroic feats the essence of which was strictly provided for by this or that article of the statute of this order, which, by the way, is almost completely included in the statute of our Soviet order of Glory, which is thus a kind of historical successor and successor oevyh traditions heroes Russian Army - Knights of St. George.

One can judge about that popular love and respect for the St. George cavaliers, as valiant defenders of the Fatherland, at least by the following facts. I remember how, in 1918, already after the decree banning the wearing of royal orders, the St. George’s cavaliers of the Red Air Fleet continued to wear them for a long time, and when we, members of the first Military Revolutionary Committee for aviation MVO, introduced themselves to the Soviet government and personally to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, then, when he saw our St. George's Crosses, he not only did not scold us, but even said approvingly:

“It is wonderful that among the members of your revkom committee there are St. George's gentlemen. Heroes of the people we love. Wear to health. This will increase your authority as an organ of Soviet power among front-line soldiers. ”

In the current Great Patriotic War, numerous facts are known when old soldiers and Cossacks joined the army and partisan detachments and went into battle with the Germans, putting their old St. George crosses on their chests, which always caused the rest of the Red Army not a joke, but sincere respect for them to the old heroes who trashed the Germans and defended the freedom of our mother-motherland during the years of the last war 1914 — 1917.

Therefore, in terms of all the great reforms that the Soviet power has lately conducted under your wise leadership in creating a powerful army and raising the heroic spirit of our people, and also in order to preserve the continuity of military traditions and respect for heroic deeds committed in the past on the fields battles for the honor and freedom of our Fatherland, I ask you to consider equating the former St. George Cavaliers who were awarded this order for combat exploits committed during the last war with the damned Germany in 1914 — 1917, to the cavaliers of the Soviet Order of Glory, because the statute of the latter almost completely corresponds to the statute of the former Order of George and even the colors of their ribbons and their design are the same.

By this act, the Soviet government will first of all demonstrate to the whole world the continuity of the military traditions of the glorious Russian army, the high culture of respect for all the heroic defenders of our beloved Motherland, the stability of this respect, which will undoubtedly stimulate both the former Georgians themselves and their children and comrades to commit of new feats of arms, for each battle reward pursues not only the goal of equitable rewarding the hero, but it must also serve as an incentive for other citizens to commit bnyh same feats.

Thus, this event will further strengthen the combat power of our glorious Red Army.

Long live our great Motherland and its invincible, proud and brave people who have repeatedly beat the German invaders and successfully smashing them even now under your wise and firm leadership!

Long live the great Stalin!

Professor Nick. ANOSHENKO


Within a few days, 24 on April 1944 was drafted by the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR.

In order to create the continuity of the military traditions of the Russian soldiers and pay tribute to the heroes who trashed the German imperialists in the 1914-1917 war, the Council of People's Commissars decides:

1. Equate the former St. George Cavaliers, who received the St. George Crosses for combat exploits committed in battles against the Germans during the 1914 — 17 war, to the Knights of the Order of Glory with all the benefits arising from this.

2. Allow the former St. George Cavaliers to wear on the chest pads with a ribbon of set colors.

3. The persons subject to the action of this decree are issued with an order book of the Order of Glory with a note: "to the former St. George Cavalier", which is issued by the headquarters of military districts or fronts on the basis of the presentation of relevant documents (original orders or service records of that time).

This Resolution was not approved and published, but thousands of Soviet soldiers participating in the First World War and the Great Patriotic War began to wear openly on their field uniforms and tunics not only Soviet orders and medals, but also St. George’s Awards and St. George’s crosses with St. George medals. On the preserved front photos 1944-1945. we see in the group shootings against the background of the liberated cities of Europe, Soviet soldiers and officers with George crosses on their chests.

One of these photos captured prominent Soviet writer Vsevolod Vishnevsky in the capital of Nazi Germany. On his officer uniform of a Soviet naval sailor, the George Cross and two St. George medals sparkle, defending Russia in the First World War.

He stands in the background of the Reichstag taken, in the group of Soviet officers who won the Second World War, which symbolizes the unity of the soldiers of the Russian and Soviet armies who defeated the German aggressor and stormed its capital, Berlin ...

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  1. igordok
    igordok 14 December 2013 10: 37
    The other day, this photo came across on the Internet. I was impressed. It seems like some kind of modesty, simple-mindedness - but talking faces. Many with George.
  2. La-5
    La-5 14 December 2013 10: 53
    Unjustly forgotten war in our country.
    1. sashka
      sashka 14 December 2013 11: 00
      Quote: La-5
      Unjustly forgotten war in our country.

      I don’t remember a time when the war taught us anything. Everything is as usual, at random ..
    2. mehan71
      mehan71 14 December 2013 20: 15
      And the heroes are real. Eternal memory to HEROES OF RUSSIA !!!
      1. valerei
        valerei 15 December 2013 00: 56
        mehan71, for sure, the most real. My father went through the whole war from the second week from its beginning until the middle of 1946. At the beginning of the war he was a sergeant - commander of a gun howitzer guns. When forming the regiment, artillerymen with St. George's crosses fell into his calculation. So, everything is true and from the very beginning of the war our soldiers wore royal rewards.
  3. RUSS
    RUSS 14 December 2013 11: 00
    Symbols for humans are very important, it is not clear why Shoigu does not understand this when trying to introduce new symbols for the army, which is completely disappointing. Continuity in the army is very important, it is proved by our history.
    1. not main
      not main 15 December 2013 02: 44
      Why doesn't he understand? Look at him already have no place to hang regalia!
  4. creak
    creak 14 December 2013 12: 07
    A small clarification - the orders of St. George were not awarded in all white armies ... in the Denikin Volunteer Army, and later Wrangel, this practice was not because it was considered unacceptable to award the highest military awards for the war with his compatriots ... There were awards, in mainly production in the next rank and commemorative signs such as: "For the ice campaign".
  5. understudy
    understudy 14 December 2013 18: 24
    Regarding the previously existing awards ... a very interesting series called "Orders of the Russian Empire" was released by "Arguments and Facts" with beautifully executed dummies and historical references. I took orders for myself repeat , and gave the related magazines to the school library. As later reported, the small people are interested.
  6. Uhe
    Uhe 14 December 2013 23: 29
    My great-grandfather was a complete knight of St. George for non-commissioned officers, he was also awarded a "Nagant" and a saber. He was a brave but tough man. A real communist.
  7. fartfraer
    fartfraer 15 December 2013 07: 07
    but now the St. George ribbons for May 9 are knitted both on dogs and on car mirrors (and then they do not take them off for three years, all the ribbons hang in dust and dirt). And some kids do not lag behind - they will impose 40 ribbons in front and behind and walk "patriots" who do not remember or do not know what there is such a St. George ribbon.
  8. vvkroxa
    vvkroxa 15 December 2013 10: 18
    A good article, but this blunder at the end of the article looks like a mockery:

    “He stands against the backdrop of the captured Reichstag, in a group of Soviet officers - victors in World War II, which symbolizes the unity of the soldiers of the Russian and Soviet armies who defeated the German aggressor and took by storm its capital - Berlin ...

    Buy rewards, orders, me
    We buy expensive awards, orders, me. Buy medals, orders, awards, sign "
    1. vladimirZ
      vladimirZ 15 December 2013 16: 59
      "He stands against the backdrop of the captured Reichstag, in a group of Soviet officers - victors in World War II, which symbolizes the unity of the soldiers of the Russian and Soviet armies who defeated the German aggressor and took by storm its capital - Berlin ..."

      No one blunders. Here is a photo.
      1. svp67
        svp67 15 December 2013 17: 07
        Quote: vladimirZ
        No one blunders. Here is a photo.

        Stalin very well understood and "felt" his people
        so the permission to wear "Georgiev" was not spontaneous, but a thoughtful step

  9. vvkroxa
    vvkroxa 19 December 2013 11: 35
    By blunders it’s not the text of the article but the announcement of the purchase of awards. Under an article on such topics, this announcement, in my opinion, is absolutely inappropriate.