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22/04/2021 12:20pm

Soviet Anniversary Medal

Conflict
 
World War II.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The Russian Convoy Medal which is also known as the ‘Jubilee Medal’ (marking ‘forty - or fifty see below - Years of Victory in the 'Great Patriotic War 1941–1945’) and the Soviet ‘WW2 Anniversary Medal’, is technically a ‘commemorative medal’ presented by the Russian Government for service in ‘the defence of the Soviet Arctic’ during World War II.
 
The medal was established in 1985, and the Russian Government first approached the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the late 1980’s and offered this medal to British ex-Servicemen. However, permission was not granted for it to be accepted and worn at that time.
 
Not with standing this, some years later, further official approaches by the Russians to the British Government were reconsidered, and in 1994, The Queen granted permission for this medal to be accepted and worn by eligible British citizens.
 
This was considered acceptable in the light of changed circumstances in Russia since the medal was first issued, the improvement in relations between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation, and the fact that the medal was a commemorative issue, recognising the passing of forty years since the end of the war, rather than a foreign campaign medal.
 
It was made clear at that time that it was not envisaged that permission would be given for any future anniversary medals issued by foreign or Commonwealth Governments to be accepted and worn by British citizens where they related to services wholly rendered more than five years prior to the proposal to make the award.
 
A similar medal dated (1945-1995) was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the war was established in the mid 1990’s and was also made available to eligible British citizens.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 32mm in diameter and was struck in brass. The obverse depicts the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower within the outline of a large five pointed star positioned slightly off centre to the right.
 
In the background there are fireworks on both sides and the star’s lower points are superimposed over the image of laurel branches spreading out from the medal’s lower circumference.
 
Starting at the lower centre there is an image of a soldier holding a machine gun, his right arm in the air, to his right, a female worker and to his left, a collective farmer.
 
In the upper part, on both sides of the tower superimposed over the star’s outline, are the dates; ‘1945’ and; ‘1985’.
 
On the reverse, along the upper medal circumference, can be found the inscription; ‘УЧАСТНИКУ ВОЙНЫ’ meaning; ‘WAR PARTICIPANT’ - ‘PARTICIPANT ON THE LABOUR FRONT’.
 
In the centre, there can be found the inscription - on seven lines - that reads; ‘40 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941-1945 гг’ meaning; ‘40 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945’.
 
At the bottom there is the Soviet hammer and sickle emblem over a Ribbon of St. George.
 
On the reverse of medals struck to honour foreign nationals the inscription; ‘WAR PARTICIPANT’ or ‘PARTICIPANT ON THE LABOUR FRONT’ were omitted.
 
The 50th anniversary medal is also circular, 32mm in diameter and struck in brass The obverse bears the relief image of the Kremlin wall with the Spasskaya Tower and Saint Basil's Cathedral, all under fireworks.
 
At the bottom, a relief image of the Order of the Patriotic War over a laurel wreath, the dates; ‘1945’ on the left, and ‘1995’ on the right of the image of the Order.
 
On the otherwise plain reverse, there is an inscription in six lines that  reads; ‘50 лет Победы в Великой Отечественной войне 1941-1945’, meaning; ‘50 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945’.
 
At the centre below the inscription are the dates; ‘1941-1945’. A laurel wreath surrounds the inscriptions from the bottom to just over halfway up along the medal circumference.
 
Both medals were issued un-named.
 
Ribbon
 
 
In both cases the medal was suspended from a standard Soviet pentagonal mount by a ring through the medal suspension loop. In regards to the forty year medal, the mount was covered by a 24mm wide red silk moiré ribbon with narrow green edge stripes. On the left side, against the edge stripe, the 10mm wide Ribbon of St. George.
 
The fifty year medal mount is also covered by a 24mm wide silk moiré ribbon, the right half is red, the left half is the Ribbon of Saint George.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
40th Anniversary Medal
£10.00
50th Anniversary Medal
£15.00
60th Anniversary Medal
£20.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The Arctic Convoys.
 
The Arctic Convoys - The Arctic convoys of World War II were oceangoing convoys which sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union - primarily Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and Murmansk, both in modern-day Russia. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945 (although there were two gaps with no sailings between July and September 1942, and March and November 1943), sailing via several seas of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
 
About 1400 merchant ships delivered essential supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and the U.S. Navy. Eighty-five merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships (two cruisers, six destroyers, eight other escort ships) were lost.
 
The German Kriegsmarine lost a number of vessels including one battleship, three destroyers and at least 30 U-boats as well as a large number of aircraft. The convoys demonstrated the Allies commitment to helping the Soviet Union, prior to the opening of a Second Front, and tied up a substantial part of Germany's Navy and Air Force.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.