Flag of the Soviet Union

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August 15, 1980 (last version used)

The flag of the Soviet Union consisted of a plain red flag, with a cross-peen hammer crossed with a sickle (the hammer and sickle) and a red star in the upper canton. The hammer and sickle symbolized the nation's workers and peasants while the red star represented the rule of the Communist Party.

The first flag with the red star, hammer and sickle was adopted on November 12, 1923. In 1955, a statute on the flag was adopted which resulted in a change of the hammer's handle length and the shape of the sickle. A final modification to the flag was adopted in 1980 in which the color was brightened to light red. The flag continued to be a national flag until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Symbolism and design

The color red has always been positive in the Russian culture. The word red (Russian: красный, krasny) is etymologically related with the Russian words for very good and beautiful. This can also be seen in Moscow’s Red Square and the Russian Orthodox festivity, Red Easter.

It is said[by whom?] that the red field is symbolism of the blood that has been spilled by workers and farmers. It honors the red flag of the Paris Commune of 1871.[2] The ideology of communism can be seen from the flag. The red star and hammer and sickle represent communism and socialism. The flag of the Soviet Union consisted of a plain red flag. A gold hammer is crossed with a gold sickle which are placed beneath of a gold-bordered red star. This symbol is then placed in the upper left canton of the red flag.

The hammer symbolizes the nation's industrial workers (proletarians) while the sickle symbolizes the nation's agricultural workers (peasants)—who together formed the state. The red star represented the rule of the Communist Party. The back side of the flag is officially just red, without the symbols. However, in practice, the flag was usually made through and through and thus the symbols usually appeared on the reverse side and in the reverse order.[3]

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