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TacHel

How to recognize "genuine/official" Russian awards

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There are a great many non governmental organizations issuing medals in modern day Russia. Some of the awards are clearly for service within the organization, many others on the other hand mirror genuine governmental awards using the same designation (or very close) and having quite similar designs and prerequisites for award. The number and quality of these medals often outshines the actual governmental awards they are mimicking. As an example, the Medal for 100 Years of the Submarine Forces of Russia, to date I have found 12 different variations, all official looking and of quite nice quality, but a single "official/governmental" medal was produced by the Defense Ministry. The fact of seeing such awards being worn on the uniforms of serving military or paramilitary personnel does not mean they are officially recognized, regulations were quite lax for a time but are now being applied and these awards will most likely (and hopefully) only show up on vets and civilians in the near future.

Such non governmental organizations:

-Committee for Public Awards

-Russian Awards Committee

-Union of Afghanistan Veterans

-Ex Presidium of the Soviet Union

-Etc etc etc... The list is quite extensive!

For State Orders and Decorations, you can go to the official web site of the Commission on State Awards to the President of the Russian Federation. If it isn't there, it isn't official/governmental. It is however only available in Russian, your on line "E-Translator" will be quite useful here.

Ministries also issue medals on order of the pertinent minister (vice a presidential decree for state awards). Some are quite easy to authenticate such as the ministries for Defense, Interior and Emergency Situations. This also includes some of their sub departments such as the Federal Protective Service, Federal Security Service, Foreign Intelligence Service and the likes. The reason these are easy to authenticate as "official/governmental" awards is due to the fact their ministry is always clearly identified on the reverse.

Defense Ministry medals reverse inscription: Министерство Обороны - Российскoй Федерации (Ministry of Defense - Russian Federation)

Interior Ministry medals reverse inscription: Министерства внутренних дел - Российскoй Федерации (Ministry of Internal Affairs - Russian Federation) or the short version: МВД России (MVD Russia).

Ministry for Emergency Situations medals reverse inscription: МЧС России (MHS Russia)

There are a few exceptions, but they are quite rare.

The medal below is for "Veteran of the MVD" (25 years of service in the Interior Ministry). It looks quite official even bearing the emblem of the Ministry and "МВД" on its obverse. But it is in fact a non governmental award bestowed by a civilian organization. Notice the lack of the ministry on the reverse, a dead giveaway.

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This is the actual "official/governmental" medal for "Veteran of the MVD".

If you had to choose between them in a dealer's shop or at a flea market, which one would you have picked? (Just FYI, I opted for the wrong one... :rolleyes: )

The "reverse inscription" rule doesn't always work, like I said, there are some rare exceptions, a few governmental awards don't have the reverse inscription as mentioned above, but non governmental medals will NEVER have a reverse inscription identifying a ministry or department. When in doubt, following this simple rule will prevent you from purchasing non governmental (bogus) medals.

Edited by TacHel

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Award documents for "official/governmental" ministerial or departmental medals will always have the ministerial/departmental emblem on the cover. Here, from L to R, Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and Federal Border Service.

The particular ministry or department is also usually clearly identified inside the award document.

If the document is stamped, the ministry or department will be identified on the stamp itself.

Any exceptions? Yes, but so few that you should seriously consider passing on items without these identifiers.

Edited by TacHel

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This is what I'm talking about when I use the term "mimicking" of official awards. All of these medals denote the 100th anniversary of submarines in Russia. ONLY the one at lower left is an "official/governmental" award, all the others are from civilian organizations, some are mere souvenirs. Yet a quick scan on eBay will show you many of them advertised as the official medal. Don't get too cranked up at the merchants or sellers, most have no idea, very little data in the form of books or catalogs has hit the Western market.

I also purchased the medal at the top left corner knowing it was from a non governmental source. Why? Because it's simply gorgeous and of the highest quality. Like I mentioned before, many non governmental (civilian/bogus) medals are of much higher quality and design than the actual official governmental awards.

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For over a year now, I have been working on this WIKIPEDIA PAGE.

I only include awards that I have positively identified as governmental.

I'm positive that I'm missing some medals in there, researching hundreds of governmental decrees with my limited knowledge of the Russian language is no easy task, but I intend on keeping the page as up to date as possible. This should help to guide anybody interested in starting a Russian Federation collection.

Any and all "researched" additions or modifications will be greatly welcomed and appreciated!

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Do you intend to document unoffical awards as well, Fran?ois?

It is my intention on my site to do so but separately from the governmental/ministry ones we can class as 'official' - if only, as you point out, to enable collectors to have some idea of what they are looking at. As you can see from the text list - http://www.medals.org.uk/russia/rf/rf-text.htm - there's a separate section for them at the bottom. May be worth subdividing with some of the main producers of unoffical medals like the Committee for Public Awards (already have for Umlatova ones). As I build the ribbon charts they will be paginated according to where the medals come from. It's all fascinating, perhaps when the summer break begins (& I've done with modern Poland) I'll focus on it, naturally you are welcome to anything on the site that's of use to you (help yourself, or ask if you want bigger highquality images).

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I hadn't really intended on specifically documenting "unofficial/non governmental" awards for the simple reason there are too many of them (literally hundreds!). So there isn't a Wiki page planned for that. But... I have 4 or 5 dozen pictures that can be of use to you with the originating organizations, it'll be a pleasure to send these for your great web site and to keep you abreast of any new findings on that subject.

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Just found some more swindles on eBay.

Be extremely weary of so called official medals not found on my Wiki page! I've seen 2 sellers who post a reverse pic showing an official ministerial affiliation that is NOT the reverse of the actual medal being sold!

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Some of the major groups dishing out unofficial awards are the Party of Peace and Unity (called Umalatova medals), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Russian Awards Committe.

You can find them at these links:

UMALATOVA medals

Communist Party awards

Russian Awards Committee awards

Edited by TacHel

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