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 peaceThose 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, 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.
The second design was awarded from 1934 until 1936. This was a solid gold badge, featuring an silver plated 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 till 1943. Design was same as previous, but central disc was gray enamelled and Lenin's portrait was separate piece made of platinum fixed by rivets.
The fourth design was awarded from 1943 till 1991. Design was same as previous, but was worn as a medal suspended from a ribbon (all previous were screwback).
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—on May 17, 1932), received the award for helping in the reconstruction of Soviet industry and agriculture in 1931–1934.
A total of 431,418 orders were awarded in total, with the last on 21 December 1991.
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:11 times:Dmitriy Ustinov, Defence Minister in 1976–198410 times:Efim Slavsky, Head of Sredmash, the ministry responsible for nuclear industry, in 1957–1986Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev, aircraft designer9 times:Petr Dementiev, Minister of Aviation Industry in 1953–1977Vasily Ryabikov, defence industry official, co-head (together with Sergey Korolev) of the first Sputnik projectNikolay Semyonov, winner of 1956 Nobel Prize in chemistryAnatoly Petrovich Alexandrov; president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1975–1986)Vasily Chuikov, World War II commanderIvan Papanin, polar explorer8 times:Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Soviet Union
Notable organizational and regional recipientsAll fifteen republics of the Soviet UnionKomsomol, the Young Communist LeagueLOMO, Leningrad Optical-Mechanical CorporationZIL, automobile manufacturerKryvorizhstal, massively successful and profitable steel millMoscow RegionKomsomolskaya Pravda newspaperPravda newspaperCities of Moscow, Donetsk, and Yekaterinburg62nd Army for extraordinary valor in the defence of StalingradSaint Petersburg Electrotechnical University "LETI"Sergey Afanasyev (Soviet "Space Minister", awarded 7 times)Aziz Aliyev (Azerbaijani and Dagestani politician and scientist, awarded 2 times)Clyde G. Armistead and William Latimer Lavery (American air mechanics awarded for participation in search and rescue operations of the steamship Cheliuskin)George Avakian American record producer who promoted international musical exchange between Russian and American musicians.Valeriy Borzov (Soviet Ukrainian sprinter)Emilian Bukov (Soviet writer for the Moldavian SSR, awarded 2 times)Bill Booth (for parachuting into the North Pole)Hector Boyardee (Italian-born American chef & businessman, made particular cuisine for the Russian Army during World War II)Fidel Castro (Cuban leader)Konstantin Chelpan (Chief designer of the T-34 tank engine)Luis Corvalán (secretary general of the Communist Party of Chile)Álvaro Cunhal (Portuguese politician and writer; instrumental in the overthrow of the fascist dictatorial regime of Estado Novo)Sripat Amrit Dange (Indian Communist leader who had strongly endorsed pro-Soviet views)Joseph Davies (American diplomat who strongly supported Stalin and the Soviet Union)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)Zinaida Vissarionovna Ermol'eva (biochemist, independently synthesized penicillin for the Soviet military during World War II)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)Urho Kekkonen (Finnish president)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)Nelson Mandela (South African leader)Kirill Mazurov (Belarusian Soviet politician)Boris Mikhailov (Soviet ice hockey team captain in the 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, two times)Mausuza Vanakhun (Soviet military officer, Dungan national hero)Yevgeny Pepelyaev (fighter pilot in the Korean WarKim Philby (British/Soviet double agent)Neville Ramsbottom-Isherwood (commander of Operation Benedict, an RAF fighter wing that defended Murmansk in late 1941)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)Aleksandr Sergeyevich SenatorovDmitri Shostakovich (Soviet composer, awarded three times)Ivan Sidorenko (Soviet sniper in 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)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)Sergei Novokov (Soviet sniper during Battle of Stalingrad, and liberation of Chelmno and Majdanek camps)Lev Yashin (Soviet football goalkeeper)Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev (Soviet sniper during the Battle of Stalingrad, awarded 4 times)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 executioner; most prolific official executioner in recorded world history)Vladimir Pravik (firefighter who died in the Chernobyl disaster)Semyon Nomokonov (Soviet sniper)
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, a 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 The Hunt for Red October, following an order to surrender by a US Navy ship, Captain Ramius (Sean Connery) of Red October tells Dr. Petrov, the Chief Medical Officer (Tim Curry), "you will go with the crew; the officers and I will submerge beneath you and scuttle the ship." Dr. Petrov responds "You will receive the Order of Lenin for this, Captain."
In the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Jones's adversary Col. Irina Spalko was awarded the Order of Lenin three times.
In the video game Singularity, Viktor Barisov is awarded the Order of Lenin for his work on the fictional element E99.
In Ian Fleming's novel From Russia With Love, Colonel Rosa Klebb was awarded the order once and Colonel General Grubozaboyschihov was awarded it twice.
In the 2004 video game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, weapons designer Alexander Leonovitch Granin received the Order of Lenin for his inventions, including the original plan for Metal Gear REX.