“Front-Line Soldier 1941-1945” breast badge was instituted in September 1999 by the Russian Organizing Committee for Preparation and Holding of Celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (headed by Vladimir Putin, the then acting president of the Russian Federation) ahead of the festive events. It was conceived as the all-Russian distinctive badge for all the participants of the Great Patriotic War.
The following Russian citizens were eligible for decoration with the breast badge: participants of the Great Patriotic War who served in military units, headquarters and military institutions that were part of the front-line forces during the war, as well as guerilla fighters and members of underground organizations who operated during the years of war in the temporarily occupied territory of the USSR. The badge could have also been awarded to citizens of Commonwealth of Independent States and other foreign countries who took direct part in hostilities against Germany and its allies during the WWII.
The badge had a shape of the ruby-red enameled five-point star with gilt polished divergent rays between its rays. Round medallion with wide white enameled rim was superimposed on the center of the badge. The rim bore two semi-circular inscriptions: “Front-Line Soldier” (“Фронтовик”) in gilt capital letters (above) and “1941-1945” (below). Inner portion of medallion was covered with blue enamel and had gilt raised miniature image of the monument to the Soviet Liberator Warrior erected in the Treptower-Park (Berlin) situated in its center.
One-piece “Front-Line Soldier 1941-1945” badge manufactured of nickel brass with application of enamel was worn on the right breast attached to attire with a butterfly clasp.
Given the considerable number of badges needed, regional governments were required to pay production costs and thus ordered batches of badges from various manufacturers. This accounts for several varieties of “Front-Line Soldier 1941-1945” badges that differed in size (31-34x31-34 mm approximately), thickness (ca. 1,5 mm), types of reverse (either strong or smooth counter-relief (“mirror reverse”) or flatback pieces with round hollow); shades of ruby red and blue enamel (the latter ranging from light to dark blue), and, finally, execution of the monument.
The badge was presented in a white cardboard square box bearing name and image of a decoration on its top. Award certificate had first, middle and family names of the veteran being filled in hand, was dated “May 09, 2000” and bore facsimile of Vladimir Govorov (18.10.1924-13.08.2006), General of the army (retired) and Vice Chairman of the Russian Organizing Committee for Preparation and Holding of Celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945.
The most notable variety of the badge in question was introduced by the Decree of the Governor of the Saratov region Dmitry Ayatskov “On Commemorative Breast Badge of the Governor of the Saratov region “Front-Line Soldier 1941-1945” No.43 dated February 02, 2000 (nullified by the Decree No.128 dated May 03, 2005). That badge was manufactured by the Moscow-based Closed Joint-Stock Company “Ufleku and Partners”. The following distinctive features refer to this variation: enlarged dimensions measuring 45x45 mm (its maximum size was designated as 47 mm in the Decree) and 2 mm thick; two-piece construction (image of the monument to the Soviet Liberator Warrior was attached to the medallion with a rivet); attachment method (screw soldered to the reverse and round nut bearing maker's mark “Ufleku” in capital letters); number stamped on the reverse.
Presentation of “Front-Line Soldier 1941-1945” breast badges started since the beginning of 2000 by local enlistment offices and veterans’ councils, local departments of Internal Affairs and departments of Federal Security Service. Decorations were generally timed to the Defender of the Fatherland Day (February 23) and the Victory Day (May 09).