Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Soviet Flags

The USSR was supposedly designed as a union of national-territories that were "national in form and socialist in content." Although much of the official culture of non-Russian nationalities in the Soviet Union did in fact reflect the popular ethnic culture of these nationalities, other areas had been drained of all distinctive color and left a rather boring red. One surprising area where this was so was in the various national flags of the SSRs and ASSRs within the USSR. Here was an area where creative motifs of the constructions of socialist nations could have been given full reign while remaining completely symbolic. But, instead the flags of the various SSRs and ASSRs were universally drab red rectangles with gold trimming and almost no ethnic symbolism. In the upper right corner for instance is the flag of the Volga German ASSR. Other than the fact that the word ASSR der Wolgadeutschen is written on it there is nothing to distinguish it as specifically a Volga German flag. This would not have been hard to do and was something generally practiced with the various coats of arms of SSRs and ASSRs. The picture below the flag is a modified version of the Volga German ASSR coat of arms. The black which makes the coat of arms take on the German republican colors of black, red, and gold first raised in the revolutions of 1848 has been added. The actual coat of arms had white where the black is on this version. The wreath of wheat provides something distinctively Volga German to the design in addition to the sickle and hammer and the Soviet slogan "Workers of the World Unite" in both Russian and German. Why Soviet flags as opposed to coats of arms were so boring is something I really don't understand. After all many of the various state flags of the US such as California, Arizona, and Alaska are very distinctive.

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