Russia is a 6,612,100 square mile nation that is located in Eurasia, and it occupies more area than any other country on earth. According to estimates from 2018, Russia was home to approximately 144,526,636 people which at the time, was the 9th highest population in the world. Flags have played a significant part in Russia's history stretching back to the time when the area was under the rule of Ivan III. The modern-day Russian flag is one of the most easily recognizable in the world.
Flags In Russia's Past
Over Russia's history, several flags have been flown within the Russian nation. One of the oldest banners the Russian army used was the banner of Ivan the terrible whose rule over the entire country lasted from 1547 to 1584. The banner outlasted the rule of Ivan the terrible as it would later be used by other rulers such as Tsarina Sophia Alekseevna and Peter the Great in different campaigns. Another military banner that was used in Russia's history belonged to Dmitry Pozharsky and was used by the Nizhny Novgorod militia. During the reign of Peter the Great, the flag of Moscow's Tsar was first raised on a ship. The flag at this point was comprised of three colors blue, red, and white. The colors chosen were of great significance as the red symbolized the Russian citizens, the blue symbolized the Russian monarch, and the white represented God. The colors used in the flag were a significant source of inspiration for the Pan-Slavic colors. A book was published in 1695 that detailed the flags that the tsar of Moscow used. The tricolor flag was regularly used on Russian ships and in 1883 was officially approved for land use. In 1896, the flag was formally adopted as Russia's national flag and would remain in use until the October Revolution. After the Tsar's government was overthrown a new flag was introduced which was closely associated with the communist government. The Soviet flag was not only used in Russia but also in other nations that were part of the Soviet Union such as Ukraine.
The Present-day Russian Flag
After the Soviet Union collapsed, the Soviet flag was replaced with the tricolor flag that had previously been used in Russia. One of the significant events that led to the flag being changed was an attempted coup by hardliners in the communist party who questioned Mikhail Gorbachev's policies. The modern-day flag differs from the traditional flag primarily in the proportions of the stripes. The symbolism behind the colors is also different as the Russian constitution does not attribute any symbolism to the colors of the new flag. However, some opinions have been proposed with the most popular stating that red symbolizes the courage and the love of the Russian people; blue stands for their faithfulness and honesty while white stands for frankness and nobility of the Russian citizens.
The National Flag Day
The Russian government instituted a public holiday in 1994 to be marked on August 22 each year to mark the importance of the national flag. Despite the status of the day as a public holiday, employees are still expected to report to work.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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