State symbols

The national flag of the Russian Federation

The Russian Federation state flag is rectangular in form and comprises three equal horizontal stripes: the upper one white, the middle one blue, and the lower one red. The flag is two-by-three in terms of length to width.

The Russian flag was created when Russia built its first naval vessels, and was used mostly as a naval ensign until the nineteenth century.

Geographical exploration and discoveries by Russian navigators laid the start of the white, blue and red flag’s use on dry land.

Before the nineteenth century, Russian sailors would raise a cross to mark land they were claiming for the country. But in 1806, a new tradition began when a Russian expedition exploring the coast of southern Sakhalin landed and raised two flags on the island – the St Andrew flag, which symbolized the navy’s valour, and the white, blue and red state flag which declared Russia’s new territorial acquisition.

The white, blue and red tricolour’s increasing use came to a halt in 1858, when the state emblems office at the Government Senate’s Heraldry Department proposed making changes to the national flag.

Over the next 150 years Russia’s flag changed numerous times. In November 1990, a government commission on new state symbols settled the flag question quickly and almost unanimously: Russia had had the white, blue and red tricolour with its more than 300 years of history, and should return it to use.

On December 25, 2000, with a new century and a new millennium about to begin, the Federal Constitutional Law On the Russian Federation State Flag was adopted, setting out the legal provisions and rules for the flag’s use.

The law states, for example, the state flag can be raised during events organised by companies, entities and organisations, and also during family celebrations.

When the Russian Federation national flag and the flags of the Russian regions are raised at the same time, the national flag should be:

 The national flag must not be smaller in size or placed lower than the regional flag.

The national flag cannot be used as the heraldic base for the regional flags.

A depiction of the national flag can be used as an element or as the heraldic base for Russian Federation state decorations, and also for the heraldic symbols, emblems and flags of the federal executive power bodies.

The Russian state flag may not be used as an element or as the background for commercial organisations’ logos: