Russian flag


Every year on August 22, the Russian Federation celebrates National Flag Day.

This is what a modern Russian flag looks like:

Флаг России
Russian flag

The largest canvas was deployed on Elbrus in 2016. Its size was 25 x 38 m.

History of the Russian flag

The state symbol of Russia was not always tricolor.

The troops of princes Oleg and Svyatoslav campaigned under red princely banners. Svyatoslav added the two-toothed club, which was later replaced by the Orthodox cross.

A study of historical archives has shown that the Russian state color during the Mongol-Tatar yoke was black. That was the banner of the Moscow principality. According to another assumption, the banner was purple, because scribes of Letters distorted the word “chermny” (dark red), writing down “black”.

After liberation from the Mongol-Tatars and the transfer of power to the Grand Duke, the seal and the banner of the sovereign became red.

The banners of the 16th-17th centuries depicted the Saints. The banners were of trapezoidal shape with a beveled free edge.

Information has been preserved about the banner of “Merciful Savior” with the face of Jesus Christ. Ivan the Terrible’s troops marched under this banner in 1552 to take Kazan by storm.

Флаг России
Flag of the Most Gracious Savior

The “Great Banner” of Tsar Ivan the Terrible is well known. The cloth in the form of a trapeze of azure color depicts the Archangel Michael on horseback and the face of Christ. The banner’s border is of cranberry and poppy colors.

Флаг России
The great banner of John the Terrible of 1560

Prince Pozharsky’s people’s militia in 1612 came out under a crimson banner. On one side was the image of Christ, on the other – the Archangel Michael.

Флаг России
Banner of Prince Pozharsky

The banner of Alexei Mikhailovich depicted the Savior on a scarlet background.

In 1669, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, Peter the Great’s father, invited Polish artists to make a coat of arms banner. A cloth with a slope was created, in the middle – a double-headed eagle, crowned with crowns. In the center of the eagle was placed the equestrian king, piercing the serpent. The cloth was white with a red border. The coat of arms is made of gold.

Peter the Great modeled the armorial banner of his father and created his own. On a canvas of the former form a golden eagle was soaring over the sea. In the center of the eagle is the face of the Savior, and next to it are the apostles Peter and Paul.

Флаг России
Coat of Arms of Peter the Great of 1696

The first tricolor in the history of Russia was hoisted on the warship “Eagle” by the decree of Peter the Great’s father Alexei Mikhailovich.

Before that there was no need to display the national flag on the ships, as the ships walked on the waterways within the country, and there was no need to designate a state affiliation. With the construction of seagoing ships, flags became mandatory. “Eagle” was launched in 1669 and set sail on the Oka. It and other ships, marked with a tricolor, were charged with the duty to protect merchant ships on the Volga and in the Caspian Sea. However, the legendary Eagle did not last long. It was sunk by peasants who supported Stepan Razin’s rebellion.

Флаг России
Suggested view of the flag of the ship “Eagle”

At the end of the 17th century, a tricolor with a golden two-headed eagle was hoisted on the St. Peter, Peter the Great’s military yacht. Now this oldest banner can be seen in the Central Naval Museum, located in St. Petersburg.

Флаг России
Original flag, 1693, (TsVMM)

According to the decree of Peter the Great since 1705 all merchant ships had to raise a tricolor. Peter himself drew the pattern and specified the order of the stripes.

Until the 10s of the 18th century the tricolor flag also hovered over warships until it was replaced by the Andreev flag. In the charter of 1720 Peter the Great described the naval banner as a white cloth with a blue Andreevsky cross, which he used to grace Russia.

Флаг России
St. Andrew’s flag

In 1858, Emperor Alexander II issued a decree on the use of black, yellow and white colors on banners, which were present on the state coat of arms. And from 1865 they became the official state colors. These banners lasted until 1883.

Гербовый флаг Российской империи
Armorial flag of the Russian Empire

The new Emperor Alexander III ordered that the Russian white, blue and red tricolor be used exclusively.

«Русский флаг» образца 1883 года
“The Russian flag of 1883

The last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, submitted the flag issue to a specially convened advisory body under the Ministry of Justice. The resolution stated that the white, blue and red flag could rightfully be called the state flag. At the same time the official symbolism of the colors was formulated. The white symbolized freedom and independence, the blue represented the Mother of God, under whose protection Russia was, and the red symbolized majesty. In addition, the colors denoted the unity of the three parts of Russia – White, Minor and Great.

The Provisional Government after the February Revolution used the tricolor for some time.

The Soviet state rejected this flag only in 1918, when Yakov Sverdlov made a proposal to recognize the battle red flag as the national symbol of the new Russia. Since then, for more than 70 years, the red banner has been the state flag.

Флаг России
Soviet flag

During the Civil War, the tricolor was used by the White Movement as a counterbalance to the red banner. Later it was used by emigrants.

In 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR approved the tricolor as the flag of Russia.

Государственный флаг России с 1 ноября 1991 по 11 декабря 1993
State flag of Russia from November 1, 1991 to December 11, 1993

In 1993, the Regulation on the State Flag, approved by the President of the Russian Federation, consolidated the status.

In 1994, the Day of the State Flag, which is celebrated on August 22, was approved.

A law of 2000 consolidated the description of the flag.

Residents of Vladivostok created the largest “living flag” 707 meters long. They lined up on the bridge, holding flags of white, blue and red colors. The result was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records. The event took place in 2013.


A rectangle divided horizontally into three equal strips. The top one is white, the center one is blue, and the bottom one is red.

The width to length ratio is 2:3

Пропорции флага России
The proportions of the Russian flag

For the flag there is a corresponding GOST R 51130-98, which prescribes the exact shades of stripes and other technical requirements.

Flag colors

Three colors:

  • White corresponds to White in the Pantone system;
  • Blue 286C according to Pantone;
  • red 485C according to Pantone.

Meaning of colors and flag symbol

There is no official interpretation of the colors, and unofficial interpretations denote:

  • White as a symbol of freedom, nobility, purity, purity and peace.
  • Blue means fidelity, honesty and chastity. It is the color of the Virgin, the spiritual patron saint of Russia.
  • Red means courage, love, boldness, selflessness, generosity.

Other Flags

The naval flag is a white rectangle with a blue diagonal cross. The ratio of width to length is 2:3.

Флаг России
The Russian Navy Flag

Ships that are assigned the title of Guards have a flag with the image of the St. George Ribbon. It is located horizontally at the bottom of the cloth, tied with a bow, the ends freely fluttering.

Флаг России
Guards Naval Flag of the Russian Federation since 2001.

The Order Naval Flag is assigned to ships that have been awarded the Order. The image of this decoration is placed in the upper left corner of the canvas.

Флаг России
Order Naval Flag of the Russian Federation since 2001.

The banner of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was established in 2000. It is a double-sided red rectangle with a border of the same color decorated with ornaments. In each corner is a five-pointed star. The edging and the cloth are trimmed along the perimeter with golden braid. On the obverse is a golden double-headed eagle. On the back is an emblem of the Armed Forces. The size of the cloth is 130 cm x 170 cm.

Флаг России
Banner of the Armed Forces of Russia

Standard of the President of the Russian Federation. Approved by Boris Yeltsin in 1994. The tricolor is 2.5 x 2.5 m in size. In the central part there is the coat of arms. The standard is used at the inauguration and then is placed in the working office of the Russian President. A duplicate is hoisted over the residence of the head of state.

Флаг России
Standard of the President of the Russian Federation

According to the federal law of 2007, copies of the Victory Banner may be hung on flagpoles, masts and houses on Victory Day, May 9, along with the National Flag.

Similar flags of other countries

The three stripes on the flag in the same sequence as on the Russian flag are also present on the flags of Slovenia and Slovakia. However, on their flags in the wing (upper left corner, at the stem) there are images of the coats of arms of these countries.

Флаг России
Flag of the Republic of Slovenia
Флаг России
Flag of the Slovak Republic

The Serbian flag is also a tricolor. But the colors are in a different order.

Флаг России
Flag of the Republic of Serbia

The flag of Azania, a proclaimed state on the territory of Somalia, is exactly the same as the Russian tricolor. However, the difference lies in the shades of blue and red. They are lighter on the symbol of Azania.

Флаг Азании
Flag of Azania

Until 1918, the Duchy of Craine, located in Austria-Hungary, had a similar flag.

Interesting facts about the flag

Initially, the National Flag Law strictly limited the range of subjects who could use it. Private individuals, for example, had the right to use it only at military burial honors and in other clearly specified cases. Violation of the law was subject to administrative liability.

The law was amended in 2008. Since then it has been allowed to be used on other occasions, provided it does not represent desecration of the symbol.

Flag desecration is criminally liable under Article 329 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Such acts are punishable by up to one year of imprisonment.

At the 1990 World Chess Championship match in New York, longtime rivals Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov met in the fifth game. Even before the first move, Kasparov placed a Russian tricolor in front of the flag of the USSR, under which Karpov was playing. After two games had been played, Anatoly Karpov’s side protested. After two more games the chess federation removed the flags. Most commentators agreed that this match was the most tense in the history of games for the title of champion, not only athletes, but also two political systems.

On the tomb of Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, buried in Moscow at Novodevichy Cemetery, is a stone tricolor. The white stripe is carved in marble, the blue one is made of Byzantine mosaics, and the red one is made of porphyry.

Sociological studies have shown that the vast majority of Russian citizens treat the state flag with respect and reverence. Many know its history, almost everyone was able to describe it unmistakably.

General information about Russia

Official language Russian
Capital Moscow
Territory 17 125 191 km²
Population 146,748,590 people
Currency russian ruble,

₽ (RUB, 1991-1998 RUR)

Phone Code +7

Map of Russia

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