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Russia in the Soviet Union (later flags)

Rossiĭskaâ RSFSR

Last modified: 2021-01-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: russia | rsfsr | russian sfsr | hammer and sickle (yellow) |
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Российская РСФСР

Flag of Russian SFSR in 1954 image by António Martins, 30 October 2003 | two-sided

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External links:


RSFSR — Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (Rossiĭskaâ Socialistiĉeskaâ Federativnaâ Sovetskaâ Respublika | Российская Социалистическая Федеративная Советская Республика). This was the official “long” name both before and after the set up of the Soviet Union.
António Martins, 15 January 2000

Description of the flag

The flag for the RSFSR was revised in 1954 to contain a bar at the hoist of 1/8 the length of the flag. The constitution of the RSFSR dated April 12, 1978 article 181 states (in pertinent part) as follows:

The state flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic presents itself as a red rectangular sheet with a light-blue stripe at the pole extending all the width [read height] which constitutes one eighth length of the flag.
While I am quoting from a later version of the constitution, the bar did not change.
Ed Muller, 07 January 1999

Could the flag of the Commander of Naval Forces of the Soviet Russian Navy (1921-1924) have been the precursor for the design of the later RSFSR flag, red with a vertical blue stripe at the hoist?… I note that the RSFSR was the only SSR flag only with non-horizontal stripes.
António Martins, 12 March 2000

RSFSR had the only SSR flag with only non-horizontal stripes, while Byelorussia had the only one with both.
Steve Stringfellow and António Martins, 12 and 13 March 2000

The Russian flag (white-blue-red) was approved as National flag in August 1991 by the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR and was used together with the soviet era flag for a few months until finally adopted by decree of the Congress of People’s Deputies in December 1991.
Alexander Getmanenko, 28 May 2003

Previous version (1954-1955)

According Vexilologie 9-10 [vex] there were two patterns for Russia FSSR: pattern of 1954-1955, and pattern after 1955. Changes are in the size, position and design of the hammer-and-sickle and star. Consequently, also the flags of the ASSRs within Russia were slightly changed in 1955.
Jaume Ollé, 22 July 2001

Reverse of the flag

Reverse of the russian soviet flag
image by António Martins, 07 September 1999 | two-sided reverse

No hammer, sickle and star on the reverse side.
Mark Sensen, 25 May 1997

Officially reverse looked like obverse without star and hammer-sickle. But in fact I never saw these flags without star, hammer-sickle. Real flags (all 15) usually were either with reverse analogous to obverse (but with star and hammer-and-sickle near the hoist) or with reverse = mirrored obverse.
Victor Lomantsov, 30 November 2002

Unidentified dark red flag with the coat of arms

The photo shows former Russian president Boris Yeltsin in an speech. Behind him two flags: the RSFSR flag 1937-1954 (red with Cyrillic letters "RSFSR") and another one, red with the former RSFSR coat of arms.
Antonio Gutiérrez, 11 December 2004

The photo shows Boris Yeltsin at his first Inauguration as President of Russia (still known then as the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic or RSFSR) on July 10, 1991. The red flag on the left of the photo is clearly not the RSFSR flag, nor the Soviet Flag, nor the Russian tricolor which was not adopted until the following month. Could it be a presidential flag? The scarlet red flag appears to have a coat of arms in the center and gold Cyrillic letters can just be made out on the top of the flag.
Erik Bell, 10 December 2005

This flag is a mystery for Russian vexillologists too… We saw this flag only one time — in the Yeltsin’s inauguration. He had no personal flag at that times. But I think he wanted to use any beautiful standard for inauguration (not usual flag). I think it was banner of RSFSR or banner of Supreme Soviet (supreme council) of RSFSR. I don’t know why he not used soviet flag of RSFSR (red with hammer-and-sickle and blue vertical stripe).
Victor Lomantsov, 11 December 2005

I recently picked up a book called "Kodumaa Rikklikud Sumbolid" (Tallinn, Estonia SSR 1979, published by "Essti Raamat") and this book has a description of the flag that looks exactly like that banner behind Yeltsin. For the Estonian SSR, there is a banner the republic had and the pattern is like that of the RSFSR flag behind Yeltsin; the maroon color flag that is 2x3 (fringed) that has the emblem of the republic in the center (in full color) with the name of the republic, in Russian, above the emblem in gold. The reverse has a painting of Lenin with "Workers of the World, Unite!" in Russian in gold closer to the hoist. I provide scans of these drawings. As for how these banners are used, that I do not know as of yet, as I still need to study the book.
Zachary Harden, 15 November 2013

Banner of the republic

Banner of Russian SFSR image by Antonio Gutiérrez, M. Schmöger, Željko Heimer and António Martins, 13 October 2006 | reconstruction

Many (all?) soviet republics had these banners. Usually it was red field with republican coat-of-arms and the name of republic. They had gold fringe. Yeltsin’s mysterious red banner was may be a sort of banner (colour) of RSFSR.
Victor Lomantsov, 09 January 2002

Coat of arms

Emblem of Russian SFSRimage by Antonio Gutiérrez, M. Schmöger and António Martins, 10 November 2002

The emblem was introduced on 10 July 1918 (according to Hesmer [hes92]) and modified several times afterwards (last modification on 12 April 1979). It was replaced by the current arms on 30 November 1993.
Marcus Schmöger, 16 September 2001

There are no dots after letters in 1978 variant of the emblem.
Victor Lomantsov, 29 November 2002

Previous version?

Prev. emblem of Russian SFSRimage by M. Schmöger, 09 September 2001 (source: [hzg80])

An official soviet handbook publ. 1980 (SSSR — Administrativno-territorialhnoe Delenie Soûznyq Respublik) shows the emblem with a star, while Herzog [hzg80], also publ. 1980, shows a starless emblem — just like the 1918 version. I infer that adding the star was the change (or one of the changes) of 1979 referred to by Hesmer [hes92].
António Martins, 10 November 2002

On a webpage dealing with the 15 federal units which composed the soviet Union in its latest stage (constitution quotes from the 1980 versions), depicting (quite poorly) the respective flags and arms. The emblem of Russian SFSR is shown without star (which apparently contradicts this difference being the 1919 change).
António Martins, 29 November 2002