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St. George’s Ribbon: Russia’s Symbol of Victory Day

Black and orange ribbons start to flicker around the streets of Russian cities in early May. They stand out well on people’s clothes, bags, body parts, antennas and in any other places wherever they can be attached. These are St. George’s Ribbons—Russia’s new symbol of Victory Day.

How to wear a George Ribbon

The “St. George’s Ribbon” initiative started in 2005 in a bid to revitalize the Russian patriotism and modernize the Victory Day. Since then it has become so popular that a V-Day celebration cannot be imagined without it. Today it is held in many countries around the world including not only ex-USSR members, but also partly Europe an North America. The ribbons are distributed for free in the streets weeks ahead of Victory Day—May 9.

The black and orange ribbons mimic Russian historic Ribbon of St. George, which was initially a part of The St. George Order—the highest military decoration in the Russian Empire before 1917 (it was re-established in 1998 as the top military Order in the Russian Federation). During the World War II, almost identical ribbons were used in the “The Order of Glory”—an important military decoration, given to the soldiers of the Red Army for valor and bravery.

Today it is the most popular symbol of the Victory holiday. Its primary aim is to show respect to those who put their lives on the line to defend their country and their nation, as well as to remind younger generations of Russia’s great heroic past.

The George Ribbon, Russia’s symbol of the Victory Day

However good-spirited, the initiative remains controversial. Opposers denounce it as a senseless and even harmful enterprise, and even demand its withdrawal. And while some citizens, especially older generations, take the George’s ribbon seriously and wear it to honor the Soviet soldier, many youngsters use it merely to decorate their clothes, hair and even use them for laces (however impractical that might be). This nihilism of the younger generation is understandable, yet remains disappointing to the veterans.

An improper way to wear a George Ribbon

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


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