Императорский Орден Святой Анны 

Imperial Order of Saint Anna

The Order of Saint Anna was instituted on February 14, 1735 by Karl Friedrich, Herzog zu Holstein-Gottorp (30.04.1700-18.06.1739) in honour of his spouse, Anna Petrovna, Tsesarevna of Russia and elder daughter of the Tsar Peter I, on the day of the tenth jubilee of their marriage. After his demise the ducal throne was succeeded by his son, Karl Peter Ulrich, who was proclaimed heir presumptive to the Russian throne by Elizaveta Petrovna in 1742, brought to Russia and baptized as Petr Fedorovich (he gained the throne as Peter III on January 05, 1762). Since then the Holstein Order of Saint Anna was bestowed on Russian subjects and the first decoration took place on February 05, 1742.

The Order of Saint Anna entered Russian award system on April 05, 1797, the day the son of Peter III was crowned as Pavel I. It was then that it was instituted in three classes, but various changes to the badges of the order occurred subsequently. The fourth class of the Order for wearing on cold steel was introduced on December 28, 1815 by the Emperor Alexander I and was popularly nicknamed “cranberry” (“klyukva”) due to its distinctive appearance.

The first Russian statute of the Order wasn’t instituted until 1829 during the reign of the Emperor Nicholas I. It was revised in 1845.

Order of Saint Anna, 1st class

Badge of the order in the shape of a grand gold cross measuring 52x52 mm worn on a 100-110 mm wide sash over the left shoulder and attached to the right hip, together with a multi-rayed eight-pointed silver forged or cloth star (95 mm in diameter approximately) worn on the right breast. It’s worth mentioning here that Order of Saint Anna was the only Russian order whose star was worn on the right side of the breast.

The following description of insignia of the Order of Saint Anna is taken from the “State statute code” (volume VIII, section II chapter 8) introduced in 1892.

“Grand gold red enameled cross with gold edging; with gold ornamental decorations between its arms; an image of Saint Anna is situated on the white enameled field bordered with gold edging; blue cipher made of initial letters of the motto is situated at the reverse on the white enameled field”.

“Forged silver star with a red cross in its centre surrounded by red enameled rim bearing Latin motto “Amantibus Justitiam, Pietatem, Fidem”, i.e. “To Those Loving Justice, Devoutness, Loyalty”. This motto is adopted from initial letters of the name and family of the Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna: A.I.P.F. (Anna, Imperatoris Petri Filia – Anna, Daughter of the Emperor Peter)”.

Order of Saint Anna, 2nd class

Badge of the order in the shape of a smaller size cross (44x44 mm approximately) was worn as a neck award on a 45 mm wide red ribbon with yellow stripes at its edges. Prior to February 14, 1874 Orders of 1st and 2nd classes could have been awarded either with an Imperial crown as an enhanced grade (since 1829) or without such. However, holders of Orders with crown were allowed to wear their awards even after the Royal Decree abolished additional decoration.

Order of Saint Anna, 3rd class

Badge of the order in the shape of a smaller size cross (35x35 mm approximately) was worn either on the left side of a breast suspended from a 22 mm wide red ribbon with yellow stripes at its edges, or in a buttonhole. When awarded for combat merits in 1828-1855 it was worn on a bow as a special distinction to distinguish between military and civil divisions. However, in December 1857 the bow was reinstituted and was worn exclusively by military personnel unlike civil officials who were decorated with the Order of Saint Anna, 3rd class with swords for their merits during times of war.

Order of Saint Anna, 4th class (so-called “klyukva”)

Badge of the order had a shape of a crowned cross borne on the pommel of an edged weapon, together with a silver-tasselled sword-knot of the ribbon of the Order.

“Red enameled cross against gold background and bordered with the red enameled rim; topped with a crown. This badge is to be attached to the military sword, saber, broadsword and dirk (in case of the latter, on top of grip). Being awarded for military merits it is accompanied with an inscription on a sword hilt (on a handle arch for a dirk): “For Bravery” [This decoration is known as “Order of Saint Anna, 4th class with inscription “For Bravery” – author’s footnote]. The same inscription is bestowed on those who already being holders of the 4th class of the Order, would perform a military deed. Those granted with such a badge with an inscription “For Bravery” would carry silver-tasselled sword-knot of the ribbon of the Order, according to a specific pattern”.

“Class ranking officials decorated with the Order of Saint Anna, 4th class for merits on the battlefield, are decorated with silver-tasselled sword-knot of the ribbon of the Order, but without an inscription “For Bravery” on his edged weapon”.

Recipients of higher classes of the Order would not wear insignia of lower classes, except for the badge of the order of the 4th class on edged weapons.

Since August 09, 1844 non-Christian recipients were decorated with a special version of an Order that had image of Saint Anna and crosses replaced with the Russian coat of arms, i.e. black double-headed eagle.

When bestowed for military merits, crossed swords were added to both star and cross of the Order, since August 05, 1855. Those crosses passed through the centre of cross and star. If the higher class of the Order for outstanding service was awarded to the holder of a lower class for military merits, then swords would be attached either above the cross or on an upper ray of the star.

According to the statute of the decoration, “Order of Saint Anna could be bestowed on foreigners who were not in the service of His Majesty at Imperial command” (Paragraph 466 of the Part 2 “On merits eligible for decoration with the Order of Saint Anna” of the “State statute code”).

Foreign holders of the Order of Saint Anna who were not in the service of the Russian Empire as well as certain entity of the Russian subjects were exempt from a lump-sum that was commonly paid to the Chapter of the Order. Fee paid by the rest recipients depended on the class of an award, viz. 150 Roubles for the 1st class, 35 Roubles for the 2nd class, 20 Roubles for the 3rd class. The money collected was put at the disposal of the Chapter and directed to charitable deeds. However, being conferred with an Order with swords, the holder was entitled to pay only half of the amount stated above.   

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