Neha Patil (Editor)

Hero of the Russian Federation

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Honorary title

March 20, 1992


Hero of the Russian Federation

Russian citizens and foreign nationals

Awarded for
Extraordinary service to the state

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 honorary title of the Russian Federation. A person that has been bestown this title also receives a Gold Star medal, an insignia of honor that identifies recipients.


The title is awarded to persons for "service to the Russian state and nation, usually connected with a heroic feat of valor". The title is bestowed by decree of the president of the Russian Federation. Russian citizenship or being in the service of the Russian state is not obligatory.

The title was established in 1992, and has been awarded more than 970 times since then, including more than 440 times posthumously.


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. 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.

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. 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. 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.

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 has precedence.


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.

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.


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.

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. 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."

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.
  • Athlete Larisa Lazutina was presented with the title for various medals won at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
  • Alexander Karelin was awarded for his recognition as the greatest wrestler of all time (from antiquity to the present day). He was a Greco-Roman wrestler in the Olympics, and in his career he won 887 bouts and lost only 2 times. His losses are controversial because commentators believe they were caused by trivial rule changes, not a bona fide athletic defeat.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.


    Hero of the Russian Federation Wikipedia

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