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Russian subnational flags

Last modified: 2020-02-17 by rob raeside
Keywords: law | governor |
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See also: External links:
  • Official Web-Site of Russian Centre of Vexillology and Heraldry: Victor Lomantsov’s civic heraldry and vexillology pages.
  • Civic flags registered in the Union of Heraldists of Russia,
    reported by Pascal Gross, 12 Jan 2000
  • Sovereign flags and coats of arms of Russian regions (by Yury Rocich): at www.chat.ru/~heraldica/ and www.geraldika.ru/
    reported by Michael Simakov, 12 Jan 2000

    This site was designed by Yu. Rocich. He wanted to make a big site on flags and arms. Many people helped to Yuri (and me too). But now Yuri is very busy, and the work on site is stopped until unknown date. The information of this site is not complete, of course.
    Victor Lomantsov, 09 Dec 2001

  • Huge Russian heraldic site; it includes a large section on flags, too.
    reported by Željko Heimer, 18 Apr 2001

    I think they took their images from FOTW or other famous flag-sites. Some are now outdated.
    Victor Lomantsov, 18 Apr 2001

    That is Ilya Morozov’s site. It shows a peculiar selection of flags. Most of them (98 out of 100) come either from Pascal’s site or from FOTW — some were taken from our site, some directly from our mailing list. Most of the older images were meanwhile replaced on FOTW-ws with better ones. (I’d also call your attention to the strange translation options: oblasth being not translated and kraĭ being anglicized as "region" — usually it is "territory", while "region" is preferred for oblasth.)
    António Martins, 29 Nov 2002

  • Flags of Russian Federation’s Cities and Towns reported by Dov Gutterman, Jan 2002
    Shows images taken from Ilya Morozov’s website…
    Pascal Gross, 28 Jan 2002
  • Map, flags and arms of the subdivisions of Russia
    reported by István Molnár, 04 Dec 2001

Russian subnational flags

All Russian Federation subdivisions are entitled to have flags, but subjects other than republics were allowed to adopt flags only shortly before (or in early) 1994.
António Martins, 20 Dec 1999 and 11 Mar 2000

In an only partly related article in The Moscow Times, it is said that the national government now claims a right to allow or disallow subdivision flags.
John Ayer, 12 Dec 2002

Russian subdivisions flag laws are quite similar and actually they follow each other almost word by word and in turn were based on the current Russian constitution (article about the flag, coat-of-arms, anthem and capital) and flag laws — which in turn was taken with minor differences from the soviet constitution of 1980, or possibly earlier.
António Martins, 20 Jan 2000

Unstrict enforcement of flag laws (regarding design) is not uncommon — Adygeia flies a medium green flag and its law says dark aquamarine, Yakutia flies a medium blue flag and its laws says light blue, Chuvashia flies a medium red flag and its law says dark red, and probably more.
António Martins, 19 Apr 2000

Four 1st level Russian subdivisions use dark red as a major color of its flags: Moscow City, Mordovia, Chuvashia and Mariy El.
António Martins, 08 Dec 2006

Russia has very complicated system of administrative-territorial divisions mixed with municipal and non-municipal subdivisions , and several intra-governmental territorial units.

In first level, there are 83 federal subjects of several types - 21 republics, 2 federal cities, 9 krays, 46 oblasts, 1 autonomous oblast and 4 autonomous okrugs. Yet, three of autonomous okrugs are territorially part of other entities, although not governmentally.

In the next level, all these federal entities are subdivided in rayons and independent cities. However, that is from the territorial aspect, but from the aspect of the municipal point of view sometimes territorial rayons don't match with the municipal rayons. For example - Chukotskiy AOk has 8 territorial rayons, but just 6 municipal rayons.

Of course there are even special cases. The federal cities - Moskva and Sankt Peterburg each have its own structure of territorial units which are subdivided into municipal entities. Also, there are few Okrugs with special status which remain after the few former autonomous okrugs were dissolved.

Furthermore, rayons are subdivided into smaller municipal entities - towns, urban settlements, rural settlements, and several other types of subdivisions. Also, the big independent cities have their own administrative-territorial units - inner city rayons or inner city okrugs, which have no municipal status. So, there are about 2000 municipal entities in the second level - rayons and independent cities, and about 10 times more in the third level.
Valentin Poposki, 22 October 2019


Soviet-inspired design

The design of many current, post-soviet Russian subnational flags includes an unmistakable soviet element — the vertical bar at the hoist.
António Martins, 12 Jan 2003

In Russia any flag of any color a vertical strip at a staff reminds the flag of RSFSR.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 06 Oct 2005

Some of these are:

Of course there are also flags and emblems including hammers and sickles, etc.
António Martins, 21 Nov 2005

Legal restriction to mainly horizontal white-blue-red Russian subnational flags

One of the requests of the Russian federal constitutional law About the State Flag of Russian Federation, prohibits as a fundamentals for flags of the subjects of federation to utilize a State Flag of Russia.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 29 Jan 2003

This already caused the change of the Khakassian republic flag, in 2003. Changes are to be expected also in the flags of Chukotka and Orenburg city, to name but two subnational flags.
António Martins, 29 Dec 2003

An exception is made in the case of flags pre-dating the legislation forbidding use of the National Flag on any regional flags.
Christopher Southworth, 29 Sep 2003


Trend to match the national flag ratio

It seems that the standard ratio for (territorial?) flags in Russia shall be 2:3 like the Federal Russian flag. The MPs adopted amendments in the Law about the State symbolic of Bashkortostan. Can we expect all the flags of Republic, regions, etc. be also 2:3 in ratio?
Pascal Vagnat, 30 Jan 2003

Yes, it’s the prevailing tendency: as since 1993 the State flag of the Russian Federation has a ratio of width by the length as 2:3. But some regions and some municipalities have flags with ratio as 1:2.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 12 Aug 2005

A federal law imposing 2:3 ratio to all subnational flags does not exist. There is only an recommendation of Heraldic Council at the President of the Russian Federation about desirability of ratio 2:3 at adopting of flags of municipalities. This recommendation is considered at the decision of a question on registration flags of regions and municipalities in the State Heraldic Register of the Russian Federation.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 16 Aug 2005


Russian subnational coats-of-arms

In some Russian regions (e.g., V. Novgorod) we have detected a pattern that the regional coat of arms is the same as the capital city coat of arms (which in turn is identical to the pre-1917 coat of arms), but with the traditional achievements (imperial crown and oak wreath with band), while the current city coat of arms shows only a civic crown.
António Martins, 04 Jan 2000

In Russian heraldry (rules of 1857):

  • arms of towns must have red ribbons (St. Alexander Order) and mural crowns of different colours
  • arms of territories (oblast) must have red ribbons and “ancient prince crowns”
  • arms of governorates (gubernia) — blue ribbons (St. Andrew Order) and imperial crowns. The capitals (Moscow and St. Petersburg) used the imperial crowns on the city arms too.
  • Several ancient towns had special crowns (like ancient crowns of czars).
Modern Regions of Russian Federation are the Governorates in the past. That’s why they use blue ribbons on their arms (they copy old governorate’s arms, sometimes with imperial crown (Orenburg Region, Tomsk Region etc), sometimes without the crown (Saratov Region, Ulianovsk Region etc).
Victor Lomantsov, 07 Oct 2000

All major cities were granted arms during the Tsarist era — these exist today at least as traditional, unofficial coat of arms. In many cities, these have been officially (re)approved as official. And note that some even have had different coats of arms thrughout time, incl. in the soviet era, (e.g., Omsk).
António Martins, 02 Jul 2001

We have seen that in most cases the adopted arms are identical to the pre-1917 version, if not in detail, at least blazoned in the same way. This is true for most division capital cities, for many non-capital cities and even for the regions and territories themselves (though excluding most republics and a few of the other divisions).
António Martins, 08 Apr 2000

Construction of civic arms divided per fess (with arms of provincial centre in upper part) is used in Russia since 1780ths. But in fact shields without provincial arms in upper part are used (since 1850ths) very often. The shield with prov. arms looks “old fashioned”.
Victor Lomantsov, 30 Mar 2000


Municipal heraldry/vexillology in Russia

All municipal flags advised by the Heraldic Council of the President of the Russian Federation (now about 5000 flags) are "the banners of arms".
Flags with "various heraldic designs based on and often including logos" are unofficial.
Victor Lomantsov, 15 January 2016


Personal flags of region Governors and republic Presidents

Known to, and covered by, FotW:

Most of these flags are squarish (about 11:12), rigid and fringed variants of the region (Governors) or Republic (Presidents) flags with the regional emblem over all. (Like the Russian Federation presidential standard itself.)
António Martins, 02 Oct 2005

Standart are accepted at a legislative level in many Republics both some Oblasts and Autonomous Regions (In laws of Republic Sakha (Yakutia) such symbols are named auxiliary state symbols). Also there are the symbols combining symbolic of the arms and a flag, but thus, the documents regulating their use are not known. Such are a flag in studies of presidents of Republics Karelia and Altai, the governor of the Saratov Oblast.

The simplest variants of standarts are accepted in Republics. This imposing of the arms on a national flag. Such symbols have heads of Republics Bashkiria, Tatarstan, Maria El. Except for Republics on this way send authorities of the Rostov and Ryazan Oblasts. More difficultly a composition of heads standarts of Chuvashia. Personal flags of governors of the Perm Oblast and Komi-Permyak Autonomous Region have the original figures. It is remarkable, that the standart of the governor of the Perm area was accepted long before acceptance of a flag of the Region.

At the end of 1990 acceptance of standart the governor was extended. Such standarts were accepted in the Novgorod, Nizhniy Novgorod, Saratov, Kemerovo, Vladimir areas.

Sergey Filatov, 10 Oct 2005

About leaders’ titles of Russian subdivisions

Republics have almost always a president (президент | prezident) while other subdivisions latter have a governor (губернатор | gubernator).
António Martins, 04 Apr 2000

Yes, but:

  • In the Republic of Altay, in the Republic of Karelia, in the Republic of Mordovia and in the Republic of Northern Ossetia - Alania first person in Region have title the Head of the Republic (Глава Республики | Glava Respubliki).
  • In the Republic of Khakassia — is the Chairman of the Government of the Republic (Председатель Правительства | Predsedatelh Pravitelhstva);
  • in the Republic of Dagestan — is the Chairman of the State Council of the Republic (Председатель Государственного Совета | Predsedatelh Gosudarstvennogo Soveta).
  • In different regions (krays, oblastes and autonomous okrugs) first regional persons have titles or the Governor (губернатор | gubernator),
  • or the Head of the Administration of the Kray / Oblast / Autonomous Okrug (Глава Администрации края / области / автономного округа | Glava Administracii kraâ / oblasti / avtonomnogo okruga ).
  • In federal city of Moscow first person is the Mayor (Мэр | Mêr).
  • In federal city of St.Petersburg is also Governor.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 10 Oct 2005