Flags of the Soviet Republics
The Flags of the Soviet Socialist Republics were all defaced versions of the flag of the Soviet Union, which featured a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star (the only exception being the Georgian SSR, which used a red hammer and sickle and a fully red star) on a red field.
When Byelorussia and Ukraine were the founding members of the United Nations in 1945, all of their flags were red with only small markings in upper left corners and needed distinct flags for each other.
In February 1947, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued a resolution calling for the Soviet republics to adopt new flags, which each of its republics were recommended to develop and adopt new national flags. So they expressed the idea of a union state, asked to use the symbols of the State flag of the Soviet Union, such as the gold hammer and sickle and the red star, as well as maintain the predominance of red color on the flag of the Union republics. National, historical and cultural features of each republic was instructed to express the other colors and the order of their location, as well as the location based on the national emblem or coat of arms. After competitions for the best projects from 1949–1954 the new flags of the 16 republics were developed and adopted. The authorities in Ukraine and Byelorussia were the first to adopt the flags on 5 July 1950, and 25 December 1951, respectively. All others followed suit between 1952 and 1953 with the last republic, the Russian SFSR, adopted the flag on 9 January 1954.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, only Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine retained their Soviet republic flags as independent states until the new official flags were adopted in 1992. Up to this day, Armenia, Belarus and Tajikistan still retain their flags with the minor changes.
Their final versions prior to re-adoption of the non-Soviet national flags were as follows:
|Republic||Flag||Date adopted||Description||Present day flag|
|7 January 1954||(Main article)
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 which constitutes one eighth length of the flag.
Flag of Russia
|5 July 1950||(Main article)
A horizontal bicolor of red over azure (light blue) with the golden hammer and sickle and gold-bordered star on top of the canton.
Flag of Ukraine
|25 December 1951||(Main article)
A horizontal bicolor of red over green in a 2:1 ratio and the golden hammer and sickle with the bordered star on the canton, with a white ornamental pattern on a red vertical stripe at the hoist. The current version retains the Soviet one, with the minor change of ornament colour from white-in-red to red-in-white and removal of the gold hammer and sickle and the red star.
Flag of Belarus
|25 August 1952||(Main article)
A triband flag with the colors (from top to bottom) red, blue, and red, with the blue band frimbriated in white, with a golden hammer and sickle in the upper canton.
Flag of Uzbekistan
|24 January 1953||(Main article)
A red flag with blue stripe and a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton.
Flag of Kazakhstan
|11 April 1951||(Main article)
A plain red flag with the red hammer and sickle with a red star in a blue sun in canton, blue bar in upper part of flag.
Flag of Georgia
|7 October 1952||(Main article)
A plain red flag with a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton and an horizontal blue band on the bottom fourth.
Flag of Azerbaijan
|15 July 1953||(Main article)
A red flag with the golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton with the white thin stripe and green thick band on the bottom.
Flag of Lithuania
|31 January 1952||(Main article)
A plain red flag with the green horizontal stripe and the golden hammer and sickle with a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton.
Flag of Moldova
|17 January 1953||(Main article)
A plain red flag with a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton with the blue and white rippling water at the bottom.
Flag of Latvia
|22 December 1952||(Main article)
A red field with a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton with two navy blue bars and a white stripe in the middle of the flag. Shortly after the breakup of Kirghiz SSR in 1992, they removed the hammer, sickle and star and kept the design for a few months.
Flag of Kyrgyzstan
|20 March 1953||(Main article)
A triband flag sporting the Pan-Iranian colors of red, white and green, manifested in the large white and green stripes in the middle of the red flag, with a golden hammer and sickle in the upper canton. The current flag retains the old one, with the green stripe is fully stripped at the bottom, golden sickle and hammer and red star removed and a Taj Crown on the centre.
Flag of Tajikistan
|17 December 1952||(Main article)
A plain red flag with the blue horizontal stripe and the golden hammer and sickle with a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton. The current version retains the previous one, with the red stripe was replaced with the orange stripe and the golden sickle and hammer and red star removed.
Flag of Armenia
|1 August 1953||(Main article)
A plain red flag with a golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in its upper canton with two blue bars in the middle of the flag.
Flag of Turkmenistan
|6 February 1953||(Main article)
A red flag with the golden hammer and sickle and outlined star above a band of blue water waves near the bottom.
Flag of Estonia
|March 3, 1953||(Main article)
A plain red flag with the golden hammer and sickle with a red star with the blue and green stripes on the bottom. The current version retains the old, with the minor change to ratio 2:3:2 and the gold hammer and sickle and red star removed.
Flag of Karelia
(federal subject of Russia)
Flags of other republics
Other Union Republics and autonomous republics existed within the Soviet Union, mostly using flags on a similar pattern, or the flag of their "parent" Union Republic, further defaced. Today, the only former Soviet Union territories that use modified versions of their original Soviet flag are the republic of Transnistria (a state of limited recognition, formerly part of the Moldavian SSR) and Belarus (since 1995).
The official flags of the ASSRs were seldom used, and were generally the flag of the republic to which the ASSR belonged, defaced with the ASSR name in its own language(s) and the official language of the SSR; flags matching this pattern are not displayed in the gallery below:
- The Karelo-Finnish SSR was a short-lived Union Republic formed in 1940 from the Karelian ASSR with territory ceded from Finland in the Winter War. In 1956, it was demoted back to an ASSR within the RSFSR.
- Despite its name, the SSR of Abkhazia was never a Union Republic of the Soviet Union but had a special status as a contractual republic of the Georgian SSR, more similar to the administrative republics of the Soviet Union; see Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia: Status.
- The Bukharan People's Soviet Republic was a short-lived Soviet state that governed the former Emirate of Bukhara during the years immediately following the Russian Revolution. In 1924, its name was changed to the Bukharan SSR. After the redrawing of borders by nationality in Soviet Central Asia, its territory was assigned mostly to the Uzbek SSR and some to the Turkmen SSR.
- The Khorezm People's Soviet Republic was created as the successor to the Khanate of Khiva in 1920, when the khan abdicated in response to popular pressure. In 1923, it was transformed into the Khorezm SSR. A year later, it was divided between the Uzbek and Turkmen SSRs and the Karakalpak AO during the national delimitation in Soviet Central Asia.
- After the Russian Revolution, the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was established; once Soviet rule was established during the Russian Civil War, the republic was converted to an ASSR of the RSFSR. Over the course of its three-year existence, the Mountain ASSR was partitioned into various autonomous okrugs and oblasts.
- The Moldavian AO, within the Ukrainian SSR, was upgraded to become the Moldavian ASSR, encompassing modern Transnistria (generally recognised as being within Moldova) and a number of territories that are now part of Ukraine, with the intention of winning over Bessarabians and the first step towards a revolution in Romania. In 1940, as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were ceded to and occupied by the Soviet Union during World War II; the ASSR and the newly-won territories were upgraded to a Union Republic as the Moldavian SSR.
- The Tajik ASSR was an autonomous republic within the Uzbek SSR, created in 1924 during the redrawing of borders by nationality in Soviet Central Asia. Five years later it was promoted to a full Union Republic as the Tajik SSR.
- In 1922, the Armenian, Azerbaijan and Georgian SSRs were merged to form the Transcaucasian SFSR. In 1936, they were repartitioned back into the original three Union Republics.
- Current flag. The flag of Transnistria, a state of limited recognition, is near-identical to the flag of the former Moldavian SSR. When Moldova became independent, some places in Transnistria refused to fly the new Moldovan flag and continued to fly the flags of the Soviet Union and of the Moldavian SSR. The SSR flag was officially reintroduced as the flag of Transnistria in 2000. Despite the flag and coat of arms, Transnistria is not a communist state.
- The Turkestan ASSR (initially, the Turkestan Soviet Republic) was an autonomous republic of the RSFSR located in Soviet Central Asia. Upon dissolution, the Turkestan ASSR was split into the Turkmen SSR, the Uzbek SSR, the Tajik ASSR, the Kara-Kirghiz AO and the Karakalpak AO.
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