Heroes of the Soviet Union, V Vorbyov and N Efimov,
2010, St Petersburg, Russian text, 638pp, laminated
hardcover, 35pp of color and B/W illustrations. Invaluable
research aid filled with serial numbers and other
information never previously available!
This 8 5/8" x 11" x 1 5/8" book is intended to be used in
tandem with the classic 1987 Soviet two volume publication
of the same title (Heroes of the Soviet Union
) which has photos, biographical information and details
of the various heroes' feats but does not include the
serial numbers of their individual awards. A most
important aspect of this new book is that it provides the
serial numbers of the Orders of Lenin that were awarded
along with the Gold Stars. This is especially important
since this information has never been available before in
any previously published source.
The main part of the book, Table I, is organized by
the serial numbers of the Hero Stars, making it easy to
determine the name of the recipient by referencing the
number of the Hero medal. The columns are organized as
1. Serial number of the Gold Star Medal
2. Serial number of the Order of Lenin issued with the Star.
3. Serial number of the order booklet (if available)
4. Last, First and Patronymic Name of the recipient.
5. Date of the Award Decree.
6. Military Rank (at the time of the Hero award and at
retirement / death).
7. Explanation (brief information on the circumstances
leading to the award such as the war, military campaign or
rescue operation; military position or civilian occupation
of the recipient).
Table II is organized alphabetically, with the Hero
Star # in Column 2 and Order of Lenin # in Column 3.
Overall, the columns are arranged as follows:
1. the name of the Hero with the serial numbers of any other
important decorations, if applicable (starting with the
"Hammer and Sickle Medal" of Hero of the Socialist Labor,
any other Orders of Lenin -additional to the one awarded
with the Hero Star- etc.).
2. shows the serial number of the Hero Star.
3. & 4. the serial number of the Order of Lenin issued with
the star and Date of the Award Decree.
5. contains information about the circumstances of the
Hero's death, options being either "умер" (died of
natural causes) ,"погиб" (killed in action),"тр.
погиб" (died in an accident), or "от ран" (died
6. shows the date of death.
7. shows either the burial place or the current place of
residence if still alive as of 2010, according to the
information available to the authors.
Table III is comprised of people who received the
Title of Hero more than once (twice heroes, etc., starting
from Leonid Brezhnev and Georgy Zhukov who were bestowed
with the title four times each).
People who were stripped of the Title of Hero are listed in
Table IV (the reason is provided in most cases).
Table V contains names of the people whose Hero
award decree was revoked (with brief explanations of the
reasons for the revocation).
Note that when no serial number for the Hero Star is listed,
it means that the title of Hero was granted posthumously or
that the Hero was killed soon after the award decree; in
both instances, he never had the chance to receive the
actual decorations. These names are listed chronologically,
after the names of the survivors who were bestowed the Title
of Hero on the same date or shortly prior. There are also a
few exceptions: the book mentions several people who became
Heroes but were never given the awards due to bureaucratic
mix-ups. Additionally, Hero Star serial numbers could not be
found in fourteen cases even though they are known to have
been issued. The book also contains some very interesting
and valuable observations such as a comparison between the
official guidelines for awarding the Hero Title vs. real
The list of abbreviations on pp. 603 - 620 is a great
resource in its own right for anyone who collects Soviet
military documents or deals with archival sources: the
meaning of many of the older military abbreviations are no
longer obvious even to experienced researchers. The thirty
five pages of illustrations range from photos of the first
HSU award (and the cover of its accompanying award
certificate) to a broad range of HSU award certificates and
This will eventually be regarded as one of the most
important research works on a Soviet award to be published
since the end of the Soviet Union. Our highest