Putin hands out revived Soviet-era Labor awards
The Hero of Labor - the second most important decoration after the Hero of Russia – is comparable to the Hero of Socialist Labor which was introduced under Joseph Stalin and existed up until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
Putin voiced the idea to restore the medal at a Popular Front movement conference on March 29 and signed a respective decree the same day.
The award is handed to citizens for their most outstanding achievements in state and public work and their contribution to Russia’s development in various fields, including healthcare, culture, education, science, production and transport.
On May 1, amid Labor Day celebrations, the first five recipients of the award were invited to the Konstantin Palace in Strelna, St Petersburg where Putin handed them their medals.
Among the recipients were Valery Gergiyev, conductor and artistic director of St Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, and Aleksandr Konovalov, a leading neurosurgeon in the country.