Historical Events  Geography
Flag of the Soviet Union

Flag had no star

Flag had a star

Missing star on original flag?

Now it's the turn of the original Sovient Union, or the "original Russian" flag - do you remember it having no star?

References today show the bright red flag with it's familiar Hammer and Sickle in the top left corner, which are both below a small star, all colored gold.

Some claim the flag never had the star and seeing it there seems "out of place".

There are mixed messages coming from the images of this on the internet: some definitely don't show it, some do.

The Hammer and Sickle

The gold "Hammer and Sickle" design on a red background was first used as the Soviet Union flag on 12th November, 1923 and last used on 15th August 1980. It was formally dropped on the 26th December, 1991.

There has also been speculation that popular culture has "simplified" the flag to the point at which the star went from barely discernable to non-existent altogether. This co-incided with the rise of low-resolution video games, where nationalities from across the world were often represented soley by their national flag.

See for yourself - internet searches are just as confused.


China weighs in

On April 28, 1942, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee announced the new party flag design:

The flag of the CPC has the length: width proportion of 3:2 with a hammer and sickle in the upper-left corner, and with no five-pointed star. The Political Bureau authorizes the General Office to custom make a number of standard flags and distribute them to all major organs.

early chinese flag 600x400

The famous Reichstag photograph

Although the Soviet Untion was notorious for "airbrushing" historical photographs, some of interest here seem to show deliberate manipulation. This is particularly obvious since it's the historic World War II photograph, taken during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945:

black and white russian flags 600x889

It is well-known that this photograph has been altered, but not for the removal or addition of the star on the flag. In fact it was because the photographer, Khaldei, noticed the soldier supporting the flag-bearer, Abdulkhakim Ismailov, was wearing 2 watches, which implies looting. This was punishable by death at the time, so had to be removed. 

One can only wonder what anyone would have thought about that act had they seen the first versions of the photograph, which were then erased from history. What term would have been given to a World War 2 era Mandela Effect?

The modern version and the Netherlands connection

The only confusion with the modern version is it's similarity to the Dutch flag, which can indeed be traced back to 1668 when one had to be raised on the first Russian naval ship yet one did not exist. The captain asked the Royal Majesty what to use, and the reply was apparently to give him free rein, so he based it on his own Dutch heritage. 

modern russian flag 600x400

It's no concidence the old yellow hammer and sickle against a red background was used by many communist parties throughout history. The hammer represented the industrial workers and the sickle the farmers and peasants. The idea that communism united these groups was spread across nations using the same symbolism.