Once upon a time, it was the highest honor that a citizen of the Soviet Union could receive. It went to weapons designers, famous cosmonauts, and the best of the best that the people of Russia. However, since the fall of the USSR, the medal has been out of commission. Thankfully, or perhaps not thankfully, Vladimir Putin is something of a Soviet Union history buff, and he’s tapping into the nostalgia for Stalin by reintroducing a great Soviet-era honor. Vladimir Putin has awarded the Hero of Labor medal for the first time since 1991.
Fittingly, the medals went to some very important people and also some blue collar slobs. Brain surgeon Alexander Konovalov and Valery Gergiev, director of the Marinsky Theatre and conductor of the London Philharmonic, and three blue collar workers–Putin’s biggest support group–were all given the medals. However, the medals have been redesigned. Rather than the hammer and sickle of the USSR, it sports the double-headed eagle of the Russian Federation. Aside from that, the medal is the same, though Putin denies any Stalinism overtones.
Said Putin: “Stalinism is connected to the cult of personality, massive legal abuses, repressions and camps. There are no such things in Russia, and I hope they will never happen again.”
Tags: vladimir putin, ussr, soviet union, russia, hero of labor, hero of labor medal, first hero of labor medal issued since the fall of the soviet union, russian president vladimir putin, Alexander Konovalov, Marinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, hero of socialist labor, josef stalin