This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Incorrect depictions of the Soviet Union flag

Last modified: 2024-01-13 by rob raeside
Keywords: hammer and sickle (yellow) | star: 5 points (yellow on red) | error | painting | lenin |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

Solid yellow star

Incorrect flag of USSR image by António Martins, 20 December 2005

A solid yellow star, (instead of red with yellow edge) is a “simple” mistake to make, occurring even in soviet flag depictions.
António Martins, 28 January 2001

Mistakes in famous Lenin painting

Incorrect flag of USSR image by António Martins, 30 July 2007

On a famous painting of Lenin, the Soviet leader appears above a red banner. It is complete with the finial, but the Soviet flag is different. The star appears to be completely gold, as opposed to with a gold outline, and the hammer and sickle are surrounded by what appear to be olive branches. Also, the hammer and sickle should not appear on the reverse side of the banner. Although this flag is only in a painting, it is a very famous image.
Dafydd Young, 07 September 2004

Relaxed standards in post-1991 manufacture

I received my Soviet flag made for me from a friend of mine. This flag was made in Moscow at the factory that makes flags, Soviet and otherwise. The emblem is a copper color, for sure, not a real yellow by any means, and it have a solid star, placed on the hammer handle side of the emblem.
Steve Stringfellow, 11 December 2000

Since this is genuine soviet or russian made, it should be taken as a “proof” of a certain relax in following the specs: Even though details of the hammer and sickle varied a lot, the star should always be located centered above the crossed hammer and sickle, and never on the side like on this flag.
António Martins, 12 December 2000

Soviet flag with white emblem

Incorrect flag of USSR image by António Martins, 27 December 2023

The Soviet national flag with white emblem, instead of golden yellow is an error perpetrated, e.g., on stamps — incl. many issued by the Soviet postal authorities.

See eight of them at this link, and I’m sure there’s many more. In most cases the error stems from technical constraints, when few-color print is used, with text and other items (usually) in black. Red is then used for the flag cloth, for emphasis, with its emblem rendered as a negative space, showing though the paper color.

An example of this is our Stamp with Flags #02620, in our website at (image at []), which depicts also the U.S. and U.K. flags and was printed in three colors: black, blue, and red — leaving paper-white to show the hammer-and-sickle emblem.

Some of these stamps are however typographically sophisticated and the option of using white instead of yellow is harder to attibute to technical issues: See stamp #02615 for one example.

And of course, technical issues may cause this design to arise not only in print but in actual cloth flags too — when soviet flags used red cloth with painted emblems, the dye often would discolorate, or even white paint could be used instead of (golden) yellow in the name of expediency.

And not to mention that some Soviet flags were indeed by design red with white charges — as in the naval jack of the o.p., or the famous Banner of Victory.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 December 2023

Incorrect flag of USSR image by António Martins, 27 December 2023

Here’s another flag that hits both marks: A Soviet flag in 2:3 ratio, instead of the official and usual 1:2, was a common sight in 20th century Western represantations of the Soviet flag, incl. in flag books, more due to low accuracy than to political animity — other non-2:3 flags of Western countries get the same treatment, notably those of CH, US, and GB.

Surprisingly, this design also features occasionally in Soviet sources, such as the Stamp with Flags #02707, image at, that shows also (partly obscured by the Soviet flag in question) the contemporary flag of Bulgaria — which is 2:3.

One could argue that the designer strived to display both flags in a balanced, harmonious way, giving positional primacy to the Soviet flag and yet constraining it to the Bulgarian ratio, and that’s neat, but if so it was an one-off case and most 2:3 Soviet flags in Soviet sources do stemm from the same lack of attention to detail of their Western counterparts.

To wit, this other 1988 Soviet stamp, #02994 (more info at - that shows the Soviet flag alongside with the U.S. flag, and they are both wrongly drawn in 2:3 ratio (while the Soviet ratio of 1:2 would be closer to the US’s 10:19).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 December 2023