For their alter egos, see the Russian Empire and/or the Soviet Union.

The flag of Russia (Россия) is an equal horizontal tricolour of white, blue, and red.

Symbolism (Чалобяк)[]

Originally the flag was made to be flown over one of the first Russian ships and was designed after the flag of the Netherlands. It uses the traditional Russian colors white, blue, and red (also featured on the coat of arms of Moscow).

The flag uses Pan-Slavic colors, probably because it influenced their choice (between 1795 and 1878 Russia was the only predominately Slavic independent country in the world).

Officially the colors have no symbolism. But throughout its history many explanations were proposed:

White Blue Red
Nobility, frankness Loyalty, honesty, irreproachability, chastity Courage, self-sacrifice, generosity, love
Liberty, independence God Mother Sovereignty
White Russia (Belarus) Small Russia (Ukraine) Great Russia (Muscovite Russia)
Faith, God The tsars Fatherland, people

Other national flags[]


1667 (?)

One of the first documented flags of Russia appeared on an engrave of war ship Oryol by a Dutch artist in 1667/1668. Some historians argue though that Oyol already used flag identical to the current one. [3]


The flag of contemporary design was raised over Peter the Great's yacht in 1693. It was flown over Russian ships since the regular Russian fleet was established in 1696. In 1720 it was officially prescribed in the marine regulations as the flag for merchant ships.


In 1858 so called "heraldic national colours" — black, yellow, and white (or black, orange, and white) — were adopted as flag of the Russian Empire. According to German traditions the colours corresponded to the colours of the Imperial coat of arms. The colours did not gain popularity, in many cases the flag of contemporary design was used instead, and in 1883 they were officially abandoned in favour of white, blue, and red. Whether there was a national flag based on these colours still is a matter of discussion, but currently the black-yellow-white is generally perceived as the symbol of the Russian Empire.

RSFSR, 1918 version

RSFSR, 1925 version

RSFSR, 1937 version

The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, proclaimed in 1917, used red flag with abbreviation "РСФСР" in golden lettering in canton. It was not well fixed, and the font face and and minor details were changing.

RSFSR, 1954-1991

In 1947 the the central government recommended the Union republics to adopt new flags based on the design of the flag of the Soviet Union. The Russian SFSR adopted flag of the new design in 1954.


On August 22, 1991 the "historical" flag of Russia was recognized as the national flag of the Russian SFSR. The difference between it and the contemorary flag was that it used azure stripe instead of blue, and length/width proportions was 2:1 (like in the Soviet flags). Since 1994, August 22 is celebrated as the Day of the State Flag of Russia. [4]

Since 1993

The contemporary flag was fixed by the presidential decree on December 11, 1993.


  • If this flag was turned upside-down, it would look like the civil flag of Serbia.

See also[]