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Types of State Awards

 

The Order of the Three Stars and Its Medals of Honour

 

The Latvian Order of Three Stars was established in 1924 in commemoration of the establishment of the independent Latvian state.  It was reinstated in the wake of the Soviet occupation in 1994.
The Order of Three Stars is the highest state honour in Latvia.


The motto for the Order of Three Stars is “Per aspera ad astra” (“To the Stars Through Difficulty”).


The Order of Three Stars is awarded to people who have achieved particular accomplishments on behalf of the Fatherland.  These achievements can be related to state, local government, public, cultural, educational, scientific, sports-related or economic activities.  The definition of achievements in this regard refers to individual outstanding accomplishments, to long periods of exemplary and successful activities, and to particular achievements during the period when the independence of Latvia was being restored and strengthened.


The Order of Three Stars and its medals of honour may be awarded to individuals, including military personnel and foreigners.  The Order of Three Stars may be awarded to foreign heads of state or government, leaders of international organisations, foreign ambassadors, and other foreign officials.


The Order of Three Stars has five classes and three levels of medals of honour.


A person receiving the Order of Three Stars, First Class becomes a Commander of the Great Cross.  A recipient of the Order of Three Stars, Second Class is known as a Grand Officer of the Order.  Recipients of the Order of Three Stars, Third Class are Commanders of the Order, of the Fourth Class are Officers of the Order, and of the Fifth Class are Bearers of the Order.  Recipients of the Order of Three Stars, First Class who are of particular distinction may also be awarded the Chain of the Order of Three Stars.


The Order of Three Stars is a Maltese cross with white enamel and a gilded edge.  At the centre of the front of the cross is a blue-enamel medallion in a stylised gilded frame.  At the middle of the medallion are three gold stars.  On the reverse of the cross is a gilded medallion with the motto “Per aspera ad astra,” and the text “Latvijas Republika – 1918. gada 18. novembris” (“The Republic of Latvia – November 18, 1918”).


The size of the cross of the Order of Three Stars, First Class is 54x54 mm, the size of the cross of the Order of Three Stars, Second Class and Third Class is 49x49 mm, and the size of the cross of the Order of Three Stars, Fourth Class and Fifth Class is 40x40 mm.


Recipients of the First Class and the Second Class also receive a five-point silver star with a blue enamel medallion with a gilded edge at its centre.  At the centre of the medallion are three gold stars, and on the edge, there is the text “PAR TĒVIJU” (FOR THE FATHERLAND).  The distance from the centre of the First Class star to the tips of the points is 44 mm, while the distance for the Second Class star is 41 mm.


The ribbon of the Order of Three Stars is light blue with golden stripes.  The order and the ribbon are linked by a gilded and silver wreath of oak leaves.  The width of the ribbon for Commanders of the Great Cross is 110 mm for men and 75 mm for women.  For Grand Officers and Commanders, the width is 32 mm (tied in a bow for women), for Officers it is 32 mm with a rosette, and for Bearers it is 32 mm.


The Chain of the Order of Three Stars is 940 mm long with 10 gilded links.  Carved into the links are the medallion of the order, images of a lion and a griffin, and a double cross of fire.


The Medal of Honour of the Order of Three Stars is a round medallion with a diameter of 30 mm.  On the front is an image of the cross of the order, on the back is the text “PAR TĒVIJU” and a flaming heart.  The medal is encircled with a wreath of oak leaves.  The Medal of Honour, First Class is gilded, Second Class is silvered, and Third Class is bronzed.


The width of the ribbon of the Medal of Honour is 32 mm.


Miniature versions of the Order of Three Stars are the same for all classes.  These are:
1)  A miniature order (14x14 mm) with a 13-mm ribbon;
2)  A rosette for the ribbon with a miniature order (diameter 12 mm);
3)  A piece of the ribbon of the order (9x32 mm).
 

The miniature versions of the Medal of Honour are:
1)  A miniature medal with a triangular ribbon, gilded for the first class, silvered and bronzed for the second and third class.  The diameter of the miniature medal is 12 mm, and the width of the ribbon is 13 mm;
2)  A piece of the ribbon of the order with a five-pointed (gilded, silvered and bronzed respectively for the three classes).  The size of the ribbon is 9x32 mm, and the diameter of the star is 8 mm.

 

The Order of Viesturs and its Medals of Honour

 

The Order of Viesturs (Vesthardus Rex) was established in 1938 in celebration of the ancient might of Latvia.  It was reinstated in 2004 and has as its motto "Confortamini et pugnate" (Be Strong and Fight).


The Order of Viesturs is awarded for outstanding military achievements, for accomplishments in the national resistance movement in defending the country’s independence, for maintaining and strengthening national security and public order, for protecting the country’s borders, for shaping the National Armed Forces, for enhancing civic consciousness in citizens so as to train them to serve their country and their land, and for the constant defence of one’s country and land.


The Order of Viesturs and the relevant medals of honour are awarded to military personnel and to others.  The order or medal can be awarded to foreign military personnel helping to train the Latvian armed forces so as to maintain and strengthen national security and public order.


The Order of Viesturs can also be awarded to foreign heads of state, members of official foreign delegations and foreign ambassadors who have done particularly important work in shaping international relations. The Order of Viesturs can be awarded posthumously if the Chapter of Honours so decides.  In that case, the individual becomes a Commander of the Great Cross of the Order of Viesturs.  This does not apply to foreign leaders, members of official foreign delegations, or foreign ambassadors.


The Order of Viesturs has five classes and three levels of medals.


Recipients of the Order of Viesturs, First Class become Commanders of the Great Cross of the Order.  Those who receive the Order of Viesturs, Second Class are Grand Officers, Third Class – Commanders, Fourth Class – Officers, and Fifth Class – Bearers of the Order.


The Order of Viesturs is a white enamelled cross with a gilded edge.  At the ends of the points of the cross are red enamel circles with a gilded edge and a gilded globule.  On either side of the red enamel circles are smaller red-enamel circles with gilded edges.  At the centre of the cross is a white enamel medallion with a raised gilded edge.  The letters VR are in the centre of the medallion in red enamel, and they are also with a gilded edge.  At the centre of the reverse of the cross is the motto of the order, “Confortamini et pugnate,” along with the year 1219.


The order that is received by military personnel bears crossed gilded swords.  For civilians, the order has a split white enamel cross with a gilded edge.


The size of the First Class of the order is 58x58 mm.  The size for the Second Class and Third Class is 52x52 mm, and the size for the Fourth Class and Fifth Class is 40x40 mm.


Recipients of the Order of Viesturs, First Class and Second Class, also receive a four-point silver star with the mark of the order at its centre.  The star is 87x87 mm in size for First Class orders and 80x80 mm for Second Class orders.


The ribbon for the order is dark red.  The cross and ribbon are linked with a state seal in the colours of heraldry.  The width of the ribbon is 110 mm and 75 mm respectively for male and female Commanders of the Order.  For Grand Officers, it is 32 mm (tied in a bow for women), for Officers it is 32 mm with a rosette, and for Bearers it is 32 mm.


The Medal of Honour of the Order of Viesturs is a 30-mm round medallion.  On the front is a depiction of the Cross of the Order, and on the reverse is the motto, “Confortamini et pugnate,” with crossed oak branches underneath.  The Medal of Honour, First Class is gilded, the Second Class is silvered, and the Third Class is bronzed.  The width of the ribbon for the Medal of Honour is 32 mm.


Miniatures of the Order of Viesturs are the same for all classes of the order:
1)  A miniature order measuring 15x15 mm.  For military personnel, the miniature has crossed gilded spears, while for others, there is a split white enamel cross with a gilded edge.  The miniature order has a ribbon that is 13 mm wide;
2)  The rosette of the order’s ribbon with a miniature order at a diameter of 12 mm.  For military personnel, again, there are crossed gilded spears, and for everyone else, there is the split white enamel cross with a gilded edge;
3)  A piece of the ribbon of the order, measuring 9x32 mm, with crossed 18 mm swords on the ribbon of military personnel.
 

The miniature versions for the Medals of Honour of the Order of Viesturs are:
1)  A miniature medal with a ribbon folded into a triangle – gilded for First Class, silvered for Second Class, bronzed for Third Class.  The miniature medal is 12 mm in diameter, and the ribbon is 13 mm wide;
2)  A piece of the ribbon of the order with a five-point star – gilded, silvered and bronzed respectively.  The piece of ribbon is 9x32 mm, and the diameter of the star is 4 mm.

 

The Cross of Recognition and its Medals of Honour

 The Cross of Recognition (Croix de la reconnaissance) was established in Liepāja in 1710 and reinstated in Latvia in 1938 in commemoration of the glory days of the Duchy of Kurzeme and Zemgale.  It was reinstated once again in 2004 by the adoption of the law on state honours.


The motto for the Cross of Recognition is “Pour les honnêtes gens” (For Honest People).


The Cross of Recognition is given to people who have demonstrated outstanding love of their Fatherland, as well as for great achievements in political, public, cultural, scientific, athletic or educational processes.  This refers to faithful service in a state or local government job, exemplary and honest work, public services, and development of the spirit of the people and their ability to do work of an economic and other nature.


The Cross of Recognition or its Medal of Honour can be awarded to local residents or foreigners.  The cross can be presented to foreign heads of state or government, leaders of international organisations, foreign ambassadors, or other foreign officials.


The Cross of Recognition has five classes and three levels of the Medal of Honour. Recipients of the Cross of Recognition, First Class become Commanders of the Great Cross of the Order.  Those who receive the Cross of Recognition, Second Class are Grand Officers, Third Class – Commanders, Fourth Class – Officers, and Fifth Class – Bearers of the Order.


The Cross of Recognition is a white enamel Maltese cross with a gilded edge.  There is a bead at each corner, with eight rings linking the joints.  On the front of the cross are the Great Seal of State and the year 1938.  On the reverse is the seal of the duchy, along with the year 1710.  Both seals are presented in their heraldic colours.  The logo is at the end of the three branches of the cross:  “Pour les honnêtes gens.”


The first, second and third class of the Cross of Recognition have a size of 49x49 mm, while the fourth and fifth class have a size of 40x40 mm.


The Cross of Recognition, First Class and Second Class, is accompanied by an eight-point silver star with the order at its centre.  The size of the star for the First Class is 75x75 mm, and for the Second Class it is 70x70 mm.  The cross and the ribbon are linked with eight gilded rings.  The ribbon of the order is red with silver edging.


The width of the ribbon is 110 mm for male and 75 mm for female Commanders of the Great Cross.  For Grand Officers and Commanders it is 32 mm (tied in a bow for ladies), for Officers it is 32 mm with a rosette, and for Bearers it is 32 mm.


The Medal of Honour of the Cross of Recognition is a round medallion with a raised image of the cross on the front and an emblem on the reverse – a crown, a ring and the text “THOUGHTS AND WORK FOR LATVIA.” The three classes of the Medal of Honour are, respectively, gilded, silvered and bronzed.  The diameter of the medal in all cases is 32 mm. The width of the ribbon for the Medal of Honour of the Cross of Recognition is 32 mm.
 

The miniature versions of the Cross of Recognition are identical for all classes of the order:
1)  The miniature order (14x14 mm), linked to a ribbon that is 13 mm wide;
2)  A rosette of the order’s ribbon with a miniature order at a diameter of 12 mm.
 

The miniature Medal of Honour of the Cross of Recognition is a miniature of the order with a folded triangular ribbon – gilded for First Class, silvered for Second Class, and bronzed for Third Class.  The miniature order has a diameter of 12 mm, and the width of the ribbon is 13 mm.