Flag of Russia

From Academic Kids

Missing imageFIAV_60.pngImage:FIAV_60.png  Flag of the Russian Federation
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Flag of the Russian Federation

The flag of Russia is a tricolour. It consists of three equal horizontal fields, white on the top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom. The flag of Russia is the source of the Pan-Slavic colors.

Missing image
Moscow Coat of Arms

Popular myth traces the origin of the Russian flag to Tsar Peter the Great's visit to the Netherlands in 1699. The tsar, who went there to learn about shipbuilding, realised the need for Russia to have a flag for its navy too. He based Russia's flag on the flag of the Netherlands, making it a tricolour with three equal horizontal fields, but he chose Russian colors for it (the flag of the Netherlands at that time was orange, white and blue, with no red). The new colours came from the coat of arms of the Duchy of Moscow, which depict Saint George wearing white armour, riding a white horse, wearing a blue cape and holding a blue shield, on red field.

This story, while widely circulated, is certainly a myth, as a flag book of 1695 (predating Peter's trip to Western Europe) already describes flags of a similar design belonging to the Tsar of Muscovy. While the Russian tricolour is evidently based on the Dutch civil ensign, it was derived earlier than is commonly presumed (in fact, it was already flown by the Oriol, the first boat of the Russian Navy, in 1667).

Variant versions

Flag of the Russian SFSR, 1917-91; flag ratio: 1:2
Flag of the Russian SFSR, 1917-91; flag ratio: 1:2

This flag was thus in use as naval ensign since the 1600s, and was adopted as a merchant flag in 1705. On May 7, 1883 it was authorised to be used on land, thus becoming the official national flag.

Tsar Nicholas II changed the flag in 1914, adding the Romanov eagle on a yellow field in a canton in the top left-hand corner.

When the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, they changed the flag to the one on the right (see flag of Russian SFSR), and this remained the flag of Russia throughout the era of the Soviet Union.

The original flag was re-adopted by Russia on August 22, 1991.

National flags
List of national flags | List of national coats of arms
de:Flagge Russlands

fr:Drapeau de la Russie it:Bandiera russa he:דגל רוסיה ja:ロシアの国旗 nl:Vlag van Rusland pt:Bandeira da Rssia ru:Флаг России zh:俄罗斯国旗


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