|Order "For Merit to the Fatherland"|
Star and Badge of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland"
|Awarded by Russian Federation|
|Type||Four grade order|
|Awarded for||Outstanding contributions to the state|
|Established||March 2, 1994|
|Next (higher)||Order of St. George|
|Next (lower)||Order of Saint Catherine|
|Related||Medal of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland"|
Ribbon of the Order 1st class
Ribbon of the Order 2nd class
Ribbon of the Order 3rd class
Ribbon of the Order 4th class
The Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" (Russian: Орден «За заслуги перед Отечеством», Orden "Za zaslugi pered Otechestvom") is a state decoration of the Russian Federation. It was instituted on March 2, 1994 by Presidential Decree 442. Until the re-establishment of the Order of St. Andrew in 1998, it was the highest Order of the Russian Federation, though it is still the highest Civilian decoration of the state. The Order of St. Andrew decoration is given to military personnel only. The statute of the Order was modified on January 6, 1999 by Presidential Decree 19 and again on September 7, 2010 by Presidential Decree 1099.
The Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" is a mixed civilian and military order created in four classes. It is awarded for outstanding contributions to the state associated with the development of Russian statehood, advances in labour, peace, friendship and cooperation between nations, or for significant contributions to the defence of the Fatherland.
The highest of the four classes is the Order I class, the lowest being the Order IV class. These classes are awarded sequentially from the IV to the I class. Persons awarded the Order For Service to the Fatherland IV class should have already been awarded another Order of the Russian Federation and the Medal of the Order For Service to the Fatherland I class. For especially meritorious service to the State, the Order For Service to the Fatherland IV class may be conferred without previous award of the Medal of the Order For Service to the Fatherland I class if previously awarded the title "Hero of the Russian Federation", "Hero of the Soviet Union" or "Hero of Socialist Labor", as well as if previously awarded the Order of St. George, the Order of Alexander Nevsky, the Order of Suvorov, the Order of Ushakov, the Order of Zhukov, the Order of Kutuzov, the Order of Nakhimov, the Order For Courage, or who were awarded an honorary title of the Russian Federation. In exceptional cases, the President of the Russian Federation may decide to award the Order For Service to the Fatherland to persons not previously awarded state awards of the Russian Federation.
Soldiers receiving the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" for distinction in combat will receive the Order with Swords. Although previously awarded to foreign dignitaries and heads of state such as to French President Jacques Chirac, the 2010 decree abolished this practice making Russian Federation citizens the only possible recipients.
The order has a collar and four classes. The collar is the unique insignia of the President of the Russian Federation. The four classes of the Order are individually identified by the size and manner of wearing the two principal insignia of the Order, the cross and the star.
A "cavalier" (Russian: кавалер) of an order is an individual who as received a grade of an order, it is synonymous to a "knight" of a western order. A "full cavalier" (Russian: полный кавалер) of an order is an individual who has sequentially earned every class of that order. The individuals listed below are among those who have been so honoured:
Senior official, Chief of the Presidential Administration of Russia Sergei Ivanov
Diplomat, Foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov
Politician, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko
President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev
Mayor of Moscow (1992–2010) Yury Luzhkov
Political and state security figure Nikolai Patrushev
Russian official, Director of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov
Nobel prize winner, physicist and academician Zhores Alferov
Artist Ilya Glazunov
Ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya
Filmmaker, actor Nikita Mikhalkov
Georgian-Russian painter, sculptor and architect Zurab Tsereteli
Conductor Yuri Temirkanov
Actor Oleg Tabakov
Theater and film director Mark Zakharov
Soprano opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya
Actor Leonid Bronevoy
Stand-up comedian Gennady Khazanov
Theatre and cinema actor Vladimir Zeldin
Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Physicist Evgeny Velikhov
Singer Lev Leshchenko
Actress and theater director Galina Volchek
Physicist Yuri Trutnev
Film and theatre actor Vladimir Etush
Conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev
Film and theatre actress Inna Churikova