In recent years, the black-yellow-white imperial flag is becoming popular, or white-yellow-black. What is the significance of the imperial flag? What is its history? Why is it forgotten? For many decades, disputes have continued on which flag is imperial. And each side finds irrefutable evidence of its rightness. But after this the next question arises: is it worth to go back to the imperial flag?
History of the flag
In 1453, Tsargrad fell, two months restraining the siege of the Ottomans. This was the last hope of the Byzantine Empire. During the siege, the Emperor Constantine XI Palaeologus was killed.
After some time, the Vatican began to seek allies, intending to organize a crusade against the Turks. A strong ally could be the Moscow state, which was then ruled by Ivan III. Therefore, the Pope marries Ivan III Sophia Palaeologus - the niece of Emperor Constantine XI. Dad hoped that this marriage will bear fruit: the conquest of the former possessions of Byzantium. In addition, the Vatican wanted Muscovy to accept the Florentine Union and submit to Rome. But Ivan III had other plans: the strengthening of power in Moscow.
Marrying Sophia Palaeologus, Ivan III became king and defender of Orthodoxy. And Moscow became the heiress of Constantinople and Rome. Therefore, the arms of the Moscow state also changed. The Byzantine coat of arms united with the Moscow emblem - a yellow field and a two-headed black eagle and a white rider on horseback, hitting the snake.
Alexei Mikhailovich introduced this coat of arms into circulation. And other rulers followed this tradition of this image of the coat of arms.
The Senate issued a decree in 1731, according to which every infantry and dragoon regiment should have scarves and hats with the colors of a coat of arms. The Russian army had to use gold and black silk for tailoring. In addition, they now had white bows.
Peter I introduces new colors
Imperial flags as such did not exist at that time. The tricolor (white-blue-red) flag appeared in Russia, as most historians claim, during the reign of Alexei Mikhailovich. The military ship "Eagle" had a banner, for the manufacture of which was used worm, white and azure matter, that is, red, white and blue. This is not all the detail noted destroys the main argument of the critics of the tricolor, as most believe that Peter I "brought" this flag to our country. Peter the Great also wrote another flag: the white cloth was divided by a blue straight cross into four equal parts, called the covers. The first and fourth are white, the second and third are red. Toward the end of the 17th century, the flag firmly held on to the masts of Russian ships.
After a trip to Holland, the young king decided to build ships, so he immediately went to Arkhangelsk. On his way to the capital, he went to Vologda, where he gave Archbishop Athanasius three flags from his ship. The largest was the "flag of the Tsar of Moscow". It consisted of three horizontal bands: white, blue and red (from top to bottom). Also on the panel was a double-headed eagle, which held a scepter and power. The chest of the eagle was adorned with a red shield with St. George.
There is a version that he created the flags already in Arkhangelsk. Some sources claim that the Russian flag was conceived as a Dutch tricolor, but with a different order of colors. But the mistake is that Peter I already created this flag before traveling to Holland.
After the appearance of the flag of the Moscow Tsar, the white-blue-red imperial flag with the coat of arms remained the royal ship standard. In 1697, Peter introduced a new tricolor flag, already without a sewing eagle.
Under Peter I tricolor was the battle flag of Russia, land and sea troops. But during the Northern War, the army and the navy began using the St. Andrew's flag. In 1705, on January 20, Peter I ordered the use of a white-blue-red flag only in the merchant marine.
In the post-Petrine period, the greatest influence was exerted by the German entourage. Therefore, the national colors were almost lost.
Imperial flags also complemented the imperial standard. It was approved by Peter I: on the yellow panel is depicted a two-headed black eagle holding sea charts with the White, Azov and Caspian Sea. Quite quickly, the fourth sea chart was added. Partially the coast of the Baltic Sea was joined in 1703.
Prior to this, in 1696, the emperor created a coat of arms, based on what was used during the reign of Alexei Mikhailovich. The banner was red with a white border, in the center was depicted a golden eagle that hovered over the sea. In the circle on his chest, they depicted the Savior, next to the Holy Spirit and the holy apostles Paul and Peter.
In 1742 the coronation of Elizabeth Petrovna took place. Before this event, a new State banner of the empire was created: on the yellow cloth - a black two-headed eagle, surrounded by 31 oval shields with coats of arms. Then on the wings of the eagle, territorial arms were not yet depicted.
Baron Bergard Karl Kyon created the second state banner. He was prepared for the coronation of Alexander II (1856, August 26). In addition to the state banner, Bernhard Köhne also created a large, medium and small emblem of the Russian Empire. Then he created the coat of arms of the House of Romanovs and generally carried out the heraldic reform of the Russian territorial arms. The main idea of Kyon was the establishment of colors that reflect the colors of the coat of arms on flags, banners. Holiday draperies and military uniforms also had these shades. So it was accepted in the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire. But the stamped colors were approved under Anna Ioanovna (1731, August 17).
Since the state emblem had a golden shield, a two-headed black eagle, silver crowns, a scepter and a power, Bergard Karl Köne judged that the heraldic flowers are black, gold and silver according to the rules of heraldry.
In 1883, the third state banner was created for the coronation of Alexander III. It was painted by the artist Belashev. But instead of a golden eyeglass, they used a silk fabric that had the color of old gold.
The coronation of Nicholas II, which took place in 1896, fulfilled the fourth state banner. It was made of gold fabric with sewing, and not with painting.
Strengthening the unity of the nation
The Patriotic War ended with Napoleon, and the white-yellow-black flag was only posted on public holidays. The existence of the flag in this form continued only until its official adoption. Nicholas I ordered the colors of the future imperial flag on the cockades of civil servants.
Nicholas I generally wanted to accept state symbols and attributes. He was convinced that this could strengthen the unity of the nation. That is why the emperor approved the patriotic anthem "God Save the Tsar" as a state anthem.
Alexander II wanted to put things in order in the state symbolism, as it should lead to the all-European heraldic standards. Therefore, in 1857 the emperor appointed Baron Bergard-Carl Köhne chief of the stamp department.
1858 is the point from which the history of the imperial flag begins as the state flag. In 1858, on June 11, Alexander II signed the decree, which approved the new state flag. Only now it was inverted: black-yellow-white. He had to hang on all state institutions, state-owned buildings. In this case, private individuals had the right to use only the flag of the merchant fleet with the old tricolor: white, blue, red.
The author of the imperial flag project was Bernhard-Karl Koen. It was his idea to make a black-yellow-white imperial flag. What do the colors mean on the panel? Why did the baron turn the flag? In general, in heraldry, an inverted banner denotes mourning. In the sea it is a distress signal. This was something that the beautiful heraldist Kyonne could not have known. Symbolically or not, then the fate of the country began to change not for the better.
Paintings of artists "fixed" the arrangement of colors in the following order: white, yellow and black.
The meaning of colors
The colors of the imperial flag of Russia have a deep meaning, which makes one think about the past, present and future of the country. We will consider the first version of the imperial flag.
The lower layer - black color - is the epitome of the empire's emblem. Here the stability and prosperity of the whole country, with the inviolable and firm borders and unity of the nation is concentrated.
The middle layer - yellow color - moral development, high spirituality of the Russian people. Also this color is interpreted as a reference to the Byzantine Empire - as the ancestor of Russia in the Orthodox world.
The top layer - white color - is a prayer and an appeal to George the Victorious, who has been the patron of Russian lands for many centuries. In addition, this color is a symbol of the sacrifice of the people of Russia. He is ready to shake the world in an impulse to give everything for his country, just to preserve her greatness and her own honor.
There is another version of what the color of the imperial flag means. The white band is Orthodoxy, which is the foundation and the basis of life. The yellow band is the autocracy, which is affirmed in Orthodoxy, since it is the only form of power given by God. The Black Strip is a people that is based on Orthodoxy and the autocracy. Black - because it is the color of the earth, Russia must live a noble work on the earth.
The white-yellow-black flag as a state banner for the next 15-20 years was perceived unequivocally and was not disputed. But closer to the 70-ies of the XIX century, the empire strengthened opposition from the liberal circles, opposing the monarchical order. Its representatives wanted the country to follow the Western development model. As a consequence, they had a craving for European symbolism. The flag approved by Peter I to some extent refers to European symbolism.
Monarchists advocated the preservation of the imperial flag. Their motives are quite understandable: one people is a single Empire, and hence one imperial flag. What does all together mean? The country is invincible and strong.
Imperial flags: their two?
1881 is the year of Alexander II's death. His death came at a very difficult and important moment for the state. Alexander III pretty soon (in 1883, April 28) gave the white-blue-red flag status of the state, although he was offered to make it only a trade flag. The situation was complicated by the fact that the operation of the imperial flag was not canceled.
In 1887, an Order was issued on the military department, which claimed black-yellow-white imperial flags as national.
The situation was very ambiguous, it was necessary to immediately solve something. In April 1896, representatives of the Academy of Sciences and Ministries decided that the new state banner could be national. And the imperial flag does not have any heraldic traditions.
Nicholas II ordered his coronation to prepare a new coronation banner, the prototype of which served as similar banners of his predecessors.
In March 1896, before the coronation, Nicholas II gathered representatives from the Academy of Sciences and foreign and various ministries. The meeting decided that the tricolor should be called national, Russian. Its colors are called state (red, blue and white).
Interpretation of a new tricolor
The new colors of the flag - white, blue and red - became national and received an official interpretation. So, the new imperial flag. What does each of his bands mean?
The most popular decoding is the following:
- White is a symbol of nobility and frankness;
- Blue - a symbol of honesty, chastity, fidelity and impeccability;
- Red is a symbol of courage, love, courage and generosity.
Red - power. Blue - Our Lady covering Russia. White is freedom and independence. Also these colors spoke about the commonwealth of White, Small and Great Russia. Despite the complex history of this flag, in fact its colors have no historical and heraldic meaning.
It is interesting that the Provisional Government continued to use the new tricolor as a state one. The Soviet Union did not immediately abandon the tricolor. Only in 1918, YM Sverdlov put forward a red flag for approval, which became a state flag for 70 years.
Before the Revolution
But the controversy continued. In 1910, on May 10, a special meeting was established, presided by the Minister of Justice A. N. Verevkin. The purpose of this meeting was to clarify the question of what colors are state, national. This problem was worked out by the largest scientists-heraldists. Despite their long work, they could not find clear heraldic reasons for any of the flags. But most scientists believed that the state colors are black, yellow and white. The Russian imperial flag should wear these colors. Another flag could only be used by merchant ships in inland waters.
In addition, the monarchists wanted to return the "right" flag on the occasion of the approach of the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanovs.
July 27, 1912 session was held, during which they decided to get one more opinion from the point of view of expediency and practical acceptability. This was to be done by a special commission attached to the Maritime Ministry.
The Commission held two meetings. The majority of the votes as a result decided that the Special Meeting at the Ministry of Justice had proposed an inconvenient reform.
On September 10, 1914, the Council of Ministers decided to transfer the solution of questions on flags to the Marine Ministry. But since 1914 the government and society could no longer deal with heraldic disputes. We managed to create a "symbiosis" of both flags. The white-blue-red cloth in the "cover" now had a yellow square with a double-headed black eagle. In the First World War, it demonstrated the unity of the nation and monarchical power.
70 years later
On November 5, 1990, the government of the RSFSR decided to create projects for the State Emblem and the flag of the country. For this purpose, the Government Commission was established. In the course of the work, the idea arose to revive the white-blue-red flag. Everyone supported it unanimously. And on November 1, 1991 at the Congress of People's Deputies of Russia an amendment to the Constitution was adopted. In addition, they changed the article that described the National Flag.
Imperial flag today
Recently, more than once the question has been raised about returning to the imperial flag. But there are a lot of inaccuracies in this matter. Since the exact and correct arrangement of colors is unknown. In addition, it is the flag of the imperial family. In a sense, now to return the flag of Russia - the imperial flag - is inappropriate.
Unfortunately, many people do not understand what the imperial flag means. Often it is mistaken for the flag of the Nazis, confusing them with nationalists.
There is an interesting modern version of the banner - "Kolovrat". The imperial flag carries symbolism, which is understandable to people dedicated and native believers. The center of the canvas occupies the ancient symbol of the Slavic peoples - the Kolovrat, or the Gromovnik. When our ancestors painted this solar symbol, they called for the help of the gods. They counted on their help in military matters. They asked for a rich harvest, they wanted to receive sacred knowledge, which practically did not reach our time. Now it is not clear what the imperial flag of Russia means. But for some people, he still personifies the greatness and victories of the Russian Empire.