Table of contents:

The swastika in the Red Army: why was it abandoned even before World War II?
The swastika in the Red Army: why was it abandoned even before World War II?

The swastika symbol has been known by many peoples around the world since ancient times. Much more important is that it was thanks to the Second World War, primarily in the Western world, that the swastika began to be perceived mostly as an emblem of the Nazis. Today, few people know that for a short time this ornament was also used in the Soviet Union.

From the depths of centuries

The swastika is known to many peoples of our planet

As already mentioned, mankind knew almost always the symbol of the swastika. The word "swastika" itself has Indian roots. In Sanskrit, the well-known symbol to us was called "suasti" from "su" - good or "asti" - to be. In Indian tradition, this meant "well-being." The ancient Greeks called a similar symbol "gammadion", as it resembled a combination of four letters "gamma". The very same word "swastika" appeared (most likely, but it is not certain) in 1852 thanks to the French orientalist Eugene Burnouf, who made a huge contribution to the deciphering of cuneiform and the study of Buddhism in the 19th century.

This symbol was very popular among our distant ancestors

And although the swastika is most strongly associated with India and Buddhism (of course, after the Nazis), it did not appear there for the first time. A similar symbol has been found in many places since the Neolithic period (approximately 9-8 thousand years BC). Scientists find images of the swastika in Western and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Western Siberia and the Caucasus dating back to 2-1 millennium BC. It is extremely rare even in the art of Ancient Egypt. There is evidence that the swastika comes across in the cultures of Native Americans.

What other "Kolovrat"

Slavic pendant-amulet in the form of a swastika, XII-XIII centuries

Slavic pendant-amulet in the form of a swastika, XII-XIII centuries.

On the territory of modern Russia, the swastika has also been known for a long time. Archaeologists have found ornaments with it on the territory of the Transcaucasus dating back to the 16th century BC. Here are just "some" problems with the swastika among the Slavs in history. Russian (and not only) neo-Nazis, as well as people who are fond of the “folk-history” trend in the former USSR, like to assert that the Slavs used a multi-rayed symbol called “Kolovrat” (the root of the word means “sun”). Here are just no confirmation of all this.

Russian rings of the 13th - 15th centuries with the image of a swastika

Russian rings of the 13th - 15th centuries with the image of a swastika.

But there is archaeological evidence of the use of the usual four-pointed swastika, for example, on the rings of the 13-15th centuries.

ACEA advertising brochure in the Russian Empire

The only rectangular eight-pointed swastika in history that could be found among the Slavs, the scientist was created by a Polish artist Stanislav Yakubovskyin 1923 on one of the pagan prints. With a high degree of probability, Yakubovsky's "sun" is an artistic fiction.

Car of Nicholas II with a swastika

Nevertheless, in Russia, in particular in the Russian Empire, the swastika was and was widely used. Largely due to the fashion for Aryan culture, which began in Europe in the 19th century. We have a lot of examples. So, the swastika in the logo was used by the Russian Electric Joint Stock Community ASEA. You can see the swastika on the car of the royal family, moreover, it was a favorite symbol of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor), who believed that this symbol brings happiness.

The red army is the strongest

Can be seen on banknotes

Is it any wonder that, having some spread in Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the swastika easily migrated to post-revolutionary Russia. It was a time of hard trials, big changes and the search for a better tomorrow. So, in 1917, the swastika was placed on the banknotes of the Provisional Government (they circulated until 1922).The swastika enjoyed great popularity among the artists of the time, who arrived in search of symbols of the new era.


There was also a swastika in the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army. In November 1919, order number 213 was issued by the commander of the South-Eastern Front of the Red Army, V. I. Shorin, who approved a new distinctive sign - "Lungta". Or the well-known swastika to all of us. Kalmyk units of the Red Army could wear it. For officers, the swastika was supposed to be embroidered in gold, and for soldiers it was stenciled on the uniform in black. This symbol was Buddhist, since most of the Kalmyks (what a surprise!) Are Buddhists. This symbol was used on the uniform of the Red Army until 1920.

After that, the symbol left the Red Army completely. Together he (like any other symbols) began to use an exceptionally well-recognized five-pointed red star.

Everything was messed up by the Nazis

Gradually in Europe and the USSR began to abandon the swastika due to its popularity among the Nazis

Attitudes towards the swastika not only in the Soviet Union, but throughout the world began to change long before the Second World War. In Germany, in dire straits after the defeat in the First World War, the NSDAP party was rapidly gaining popularity. In the summer of 1920, Adolf Hitler approved the swastika as the official symbol of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. By the way, contrary to popular belief, the idea of ​​adopting the swastika did not belong to Hitler personally. One way or another, by 1933 throughout Europe, the swastika was perceived mostly negatively.

People's Commissar for Enlightenment Anatoly Lunacharsky

In the Soviet Union, the ideologues woke up earlier. In November 1922, the Izvestia newspaper published an article "Warning" by the People's Commissar of Education Anatoly Vasilievich Lunacharsky, quote:

“Due to a misunderstanding, an ornament called a swastika is constantly used on many decorations and posters. Since the swastika is a cockade of the deeply counter-revolutionary German organization Orgesh, and has recently acquired the character of a symbolic sign of the entire fascist reactionary movement, I warn you that artists should in no case use this ornament, which produces, especially for foreigners, a deeply negative impression. ".

Back in 1926, a book dedicated to ornament was published in the USSR, which, among other things, contained images of the swastika. By 1933, for ideological reasons, all books were confiscated from libraries for destruction. Part of the publication was sent to the Special Storage.

Of course, the use of lungta in the formations of the Red Army after 1922 was out of the question for ideological reasons.

Editorial note: The material is historical and entertaining in nature, and the photographs are illustrative or historical, reflecting the reality and spirit of the time. The Kramol edition does not share or promote the ideas of fascism and Nazism.

Popular by topic