Whatever certain collectors insisted, the mysterious commemorative badge “Karelian Isthmus” was neither instituted nor manufactured officially. In fact, Leningrad Mint did produce several pattern pieces intended to be shown to the highest Soviet leaders for their evaluation and probable institution. Despite full-scale warfare fought by the Red Army against Finland in 1939-1940, institution of the badge was considered inappropriate because of the limited military success of Soviet offensives.
Draft of the badge had an octagonal shape embroidered with a laurel wreath and topped with a stylized winter version of budenovka, i.e. broadcloth helmet with a big red enameled five-pointed star. Horizontal red enameled ribbon with a superimposed white enameled shield bearing the date the Winter War had begun – “30-XI 1939” – in two lines was placed at the bottom of the badge. A figure of the Red Army soldier in steel helmet wearing winter uniform against two 203 mm howitzers M1931 (B-4) was placed at the centre of the badge. Soldier held a hand grenade RGD-33 in his raised right arm and a rifle with red enameled small square flag fixed to the bayonet. An inscription “Karelian Isthmus” (“Карельский перешеек”) in capital letters was running in semi-circle between two howitzer tubes. Reverse of the badge had strong counter-relief, or so-called mirror reverse.
The badge should have been manufactured of light bronze with red and white enamel layup. It was designed to be attached to the uniform with a screw soldered to the centre of the reverse and round brass nut.
Interesting to know that unrealized decoration described above was used as a basic design of a modern jubilee badge issued in 2004 at the Saint Petersburg Mint in commemoration of fights at the Karelian Isthmus.