from the history of headwear of the Red Army

Budenovka is the most original and interesting headdress in the history of the Russian armed forces of the twentieth century. Who of those whose childhood was spent in the USSR is not familiar with the Budenovka, which looks like the helmets of ancient Russian warriors?

For the Red Army or for the march through Constantinople?

Everything is clear with the name of the headdress: “Budenovka” is in honor of Semyon Budyonny, the famous commander of the red cavalry. In fact, the original cloth helmet was named in the Red Army “frunzevka” by the name of Mikhail Frunze, since it was under his command that the units were where they introduced a new headdress as an obligatory component of the uniform.

On May 7, 1918, the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs of the RSFSR announced a competition. The artists had to develop new uniforms for the Red Army, including a headdress. Such great artists as Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov and Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev took part in the work on the budenovka. As a result, on December 18, 1918, the Revolutionary Military Council approved a cloth helmet, the shape of which resembled a shell with a barmitsa of Russian epic heroes.

True, there is another version of the origin of Budenovka. According to this point of view, the history of the unique headdress goes back to the pre-revolutionary period. During the First World War, in order to raise patriotic sentiments in the army and in the rear, the tsarist authorities actively exploited ancient Russian themes, including the exploits of epic heroes.

Special cloth helmets were also developed, in which the soldiers of the Russian imperial army were to march across Constantinople (Istanbul) after the victory over the Ottoman Empire. But these helmets never entered the active army, but remained in warehouses, where they were found by the subordinates of the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs Lev Trotsky after the revolution. However, unlike the Soviet version of the origin of Budenovka, documentary evidence of the tsarist version is unknown.

Officially, the adoption of a new winter headdress took place after the order of the Revolutionary Military Council No. 116 dated January 16, 1919. He described Budenovka as a woolen khaki-colored helmet on a wadded lining, consisting of a cap sewn from six triangles tapering upwards, an oval visor and a back down with elongated ends that were fastened under the chin or fastened to the buttons on the cap.

The soldier’s belonging to the Red Army was evidenced by a five-pointed star sewn on the front above the visor. Since from July 29, 1918, the Red Army wore a metal emblem in the form of a red five-pointed star with a crossed plow and a hammer, it was attached to the budenovkas in the center of the sewn cloth star.

At the same time, during the Civil War, Budenovka acquired symbolic significance for the Red Army and everyone who supported the Bolsheviks: Red Army men in Budenovka were shown on many propaganda posters. The most famous of these was the poster “Have you volunteered?” Dmitry Moor (Orlov), created in June 1920.

From Civil to Patriotic: 22 years of the glorious path of Budenovka

On April 8, 1919, a new order of the RVSR No. 628 was issued regarding the color of the cloth, which was used for insignia of the combat arms. The same order also regulated the color of the stars sewn on the Budenovka, and the cloth with which the buttons of the helmet were covered. Infantry units wore a crimson star, cavalry – blue, artillery – orange, aviation – blue, engineering troops – black, border troops – green.

Border guard Budenovka


In January 1922, in addition to the winter budenovka, a similar summer hat made of tent cloth or cotton was introduced. But on the summer headdress there were no cuffs, which on the winter budenovka were fastened under the chin. However, as a summer headdress, Budenovka existed for only two years and was replaced by a cap in May 1924.

But the winter budenovka continued to be used, becoming less high and more rounded. Since 1922, the cloth for winter budenovka was not used for protective, but dark gray. On August 2, 1926, by a new order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR, the sewn cloth star was canceled: now only metal emblems were attached to the budenovka. In the same 1926, the protective color of the cloth of the headdress was returned.

The official history of this unique Red Army headdress ended in the summer of 1940. Only a year Budenovka “did not live” before the start of the Great Patriotic War. On July 5, 1940, Order No. 187 of the People’s Commissar of Defense of the USSR was published, replacing the Budenovka as a winter headgear with a cap with earflaps. This decision was made following the results of the Soviet-Finnish war: the command reported that Budenovka did not provide sufficient protection from the cold.

However, back in 1941-1942. Budenovka as a headdress remained in some active units of the Red Army, and in partisan detachments, military schools and schools, in a number of rear units, Budenovka was used until 1944. By the way, according to some reports, the Red Army men themselves did not particularly like Budenovka. But in the 1950s – 1960s, Budenovka began to be actively popularized in mass Soviet culture. In the post-war period, budenovka was widely used as a civilian children’s headdress. gaining immense popularity.

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