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Civilians for outstanding services rendered to the State
Members of the armed forces for exemplary service
Those who promoted friendship and cooperation between peoples and in strengthening peace
Those with meritorious services to the Soviet state and society
From 1944 to 1957, before the institution of specific length of service medals, the Order of Lenin was also used to reward 25 years of conspicuous military service. Those who were awarded the titles "Hero of the Soviet Union" and "Hero of Socialist Labour" were also given the order as part of the award. It was also bestowed on cities, companies, factories, regions, military units and ships. Various educational institutions and military units who received the said Order applied the full name of the order into their official titles.
The first design of the Order of Lenin was sculpted by Pyotr Tayozhny and Ivan Shadr based on sketches by Ivan Dubasov. It was made by Goznak of silver with some lightly gold-plated features. It was a round badge with a central disc featuring Vladimir Lenin's profile surrounded by smokestacks, a tractor and a building, possibly a power plant. A thin red-enamelled border and a circle of wheat panicles surrounded the disc. At the top was a gold-plated "hammer and sickle" emblem, and at the bottom were the Russian initials for "USSR" (Russian: ?) in red enamel. Only about 800 of this design were minted. It was awarded between 1930-1932.
The second design was awarded from 1934 until 1936. This was a solid gold badge, featuring a silver plated disc bearing Lenin's portrait. The disc is surrounded by two golden panicles of wheat, and a red flag with "LENIN" in Cyrillic script (Russian: ). A red star is placed on the left and the "hammer and sickle" emblem at the bottom, both in red enamel.
The third design was awarded from 1936 until 1943. Design was same as previous, but the central disc was gray enamelled and Lenin's portrait was separate piece made of platinum fixed by rivets.
The fourth design was awarded from 1943 until 1991. Design was same as previous, but was worn as a medal suspended from a ribbon (all previous were screwback).
The badge was originally worn by screwback on the left chest without ribbon. Later it was worn as a medal suspended from a red ribbon with pairs of yellow stripes at the edges (see image above). The ribbon bar is of the same design.
The portrait of Lenin was originally a riveted silver piece. For a time it was incorporated into a one-piece gold badge, but finally returned as a separate platinum piece until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
Order of Lenin type 1 (replica)
Order of Lenin type 2
Order of Lenin type 3
Order of Lenin type 4
The first Order of Lenin was awarded to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on 23 May 1930. Also among the first ten recipients were five industrial companies, three pilots, and the Secretary to the Central Executive Committee Avel Enukidze. The first person to be awarded a second Order of Lenin was the pilot Valery Chkalov in 1936. Another pilot, Vladimir Kokkinaki, became the first to receive a third Order in 1939.
The first five foreign recipients, a German and four Americans (one of the Americans was Frank Bruno Honey--on May 17, 1932), received the award for helping in the reconstruction of Soviet industry and agriculture in 1931-1934.
431,418 orders were awarded in total, with the last on 21 December 1991.
Luigi Longo (Italy; Political commissar of the XII International Brigade in Spain (1936-1938), deputy commander of the Freedom Volunteers Corp (1943-1945) and secretary (1964-1972) and president (1972-1980) of the Italian Communist Party)
In IPC Publication's Battle Picture Weekly, a character, "Johnny Red", is awarded the Order of Lenin for saving the life of a political commissar from a German air ace.
In the 1990 film adaption of Tom Clancy's first novel, The Hunt for Red October, following an order to surrender by a US Navy ship, Captain Ramius (Sean Connery) of Red October tells Dr. Petrov, the Chief Medical Officer (Tim Curry), "you will go with the crew; the officers and I will submerge beneath you and scuttle the ship." Dr. Petrov responds "You will receive the Order of Lenin for this, Captain."
^McDaniel & Schmitt, The Comprehensive Guide to Soviet Orders and Medals.
^"One American, Frank Bruno Honey, received the Order of Lenin for his work." Dana G. Dalrymple, "The American Tractor Comes to Soviet Agriculture: The Transfer of a Technology", Technology and Culture, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Spring, 1964), pp. 191-214