In August 1935, the Council adopted the decision of Council of People’s Commissars and the Central Committee of the AUCP (b) to replace the old symbols with new ones.
Before this historic moment, the spires of the Kremlin towers were decorated with heraldic double-headed eagles. First double-headed eagle hoisted on top of the tent of the Spasskaya Tower in the 50s of the XVII century. Later Russian emblems were installed at the highest Kremlin towers – Nikolskaya, Troickaya, Borovitskaya. In October 1935 instead of the king’s two-headed eagles were placed five-pointed stars.
It was offered to replace armorial eagles with the flags, as on the other tower and with the emblems of the hammer and sickle and with the coats of arms of the Soviet Union but they chose stars.
They tried to change the symbol of the Russian Empire with the symbol of the new Soviet authorities several times. Even during the Civil War Chairperson of People’s Commissars V.I Lenin offered this. However, in conditions of a total economic collapse the wish of the leader of the revolution was not carried out.
Why did a live-pointed star became a symbol of Soviet Union is not known, but it is known that this project was lobbied by Leon Trotsky. Seriously addicted to spirituality, he knew that the star – is a pentagram that has a very powerful energy potential and is one of the most powerful symbols.
Even swastika, which cult was very strong in Russia at the beginning of the XX century could become the symbol of the new state. The swastika was depicted on the “Kerensky notes”, swastika was painted on the wall of the Ipatiev house of the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna before shooting. But almost by a unanimous decision, Bolsheviks decided to use a five-pointed star. The history of the XX century will show that the “star” is stronger than “swastika” … The stars started shining over the Kremlin and replaced the double-headed eagles.
Parade in 1935. Eagles look on Maxim Gorky flight and spoils the holiday;)))
Only in August 23, 1935, there was adopted a resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars and the Central Committee of the AUCP (b) to replace the old symbols with new ones. Immediately after this TASS message was released – it informed the Soviet people: replace 4 Eagle, located on the towers of the Kremlin wall, and 2 eagles on the building of the Historical Museum with five-pointed stars with a hammer and sickle until 7, November, 1935. ”
Design and production of the new Kremlin symbols were entrusted to the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute of professor N.E Zhukovsky in Moscow with the participation of two defense plants. Sketches were claimed by I.V Stalin.
Sketches were prepared by E.E Lansere. In the first sketch Stalin wrote: Good, but it would be great to do it without the circle in the center, while the “without” was underlined twice. Lansere quickly fixed it and gave a new sketch for approval. Stalin once again made a remark: Good, but it would be great to do it without fastening stick, and the word “without” was again underlined twice. After this development of the sketch of stars passed to F.F.Fedorovskiy.
When sketches were created, models of stars in full size were also produced. Hammer and sickle emblems were temporarily encrusted with imitations of precious stones. Each star-model was shined with twelve projectors. That is how it supposed to be with the real stars on the Kremlin towers at night and on cloudy days. When the projectors were turned on, stars sparkled and flashed a myriad of colored lights.
Leaders of the Party and the Soviet government inspected the finished models. They agreed on the production of stars with an indispensable condition – to make them rotate, so then Muscovites and visitors may enjoy them from everywhere.
Hundreds of people of different specialties participated in the creation of the Kremlin stars. For Spasskaya and Troickaya Towers stars were produced in the workshops of CAHI led by the chief engineer of the Institute A.A. Archangelskiy, and for Nicholas and Borovitskaya – at the Moscow plants under the leadership of chief designer.
The first Kremlin stars were made of red copper and stainless steel. Special electroplating plants were built for their gilding. In the center of each star was paved with the Soviet symbol – the hammer and sickle, covered with gold and made of Ural semi-precious stones (amethyst, topaz, alexandrite, rock crystal, Aquamarine). It took about 7000 stones in size from 20 to 200 karats (one karat equals to 0,2gr).
From the report of Pauper – the employee pf Operation Division of the NKVD: “Every stone is faceted with diamond Galley (73 facets) and in order to avoid loss it was embedded into separate caste with silver screw and nut. The total weight of all stars – 5600kg. ”
The design was unique for each star. So Star on Spasskaya tower was decorated with rays from the center to the tops, star on Troickaya tower with spica. On Borovitskaya tower Star pattern repeated its contour. Star on Nikolskaya tower was without any decoration.
Stars on Spasskaya and Nikolskaya towers were similar in size. The distance between the ends of beams is 4.5 meters. Stars on Troickaya and Borovitskaya towers were smaller. The distance between the ends of beams was 4 and 3.5 meters. Weight of steel base frame, lined with metal sheets and decorated with Ural stones, reached the ton.
Stars design was developed for a load of hurricane winds. At the base of each star special bearings manufactured at the First Bearing Plant were established. Due to this, star despite the considerable weight could easily rotate and stand its front side against the wind.
Star for the Nikolskaya Tower. 1935. phjto. B.Vdovenko
Before installing the stars on the Kremlin towers, the engineers had doubts whether the tower will stand the severity of the storm and wind loads? Every star weighted an average of one thousand kilograms and had a sailing surface of 6.3 square meters. Careful studies have shown that the upper overlaps of towers and their tents were in the dilapidated state. It was necessary to strengthen the masonry of the upper floors of the towers, which would set the stars. In addition, the tents of the Spasskaya, Troicksya, and Borovitskaya towers had metallic bonds.
A tent of Nikolskaya tower was so dilapidated that it was necessary to build anew.
Now the specialists of the All-Union office of SIM L.N Schipakovym, I.V Kuneginym, N.B Gitmanom and I.I Rechetov got an important task – to pick up and set the stars on the Kremlin towers. But how to do that? The lowest of them, Borovitskaya, has a height of 52 meters, and the highest, Troickaya – 77 meters. There were no large cranes in SIM so experts have found an original solution. They designed and built a special crane which can be installed at the upper tier for each tower. At the base of the tent console was inserted into a metal base through the turret window.
The day when everything was ready to raise five-pointed stars came. But before they decided to show it to the Muscovites. October 23, 1935, the stars were delivered to the Central Park of Culture and Rest of M. Gorkiy and set on pedestals, upholstered with red cloth. In the shine of projectors sparkled Ural gems. Secretaries of city and district committees of the AUCP (b), the chairman of the Moscow City Council inspected the stars. Hundreds of Muscovites came to the park. Everyone wanted to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the stars, which would soon fly into the Moscow sky.
It was really hard to hoist the stars on the Kremlin tower. The thing was that the appropriate technology simply did not exist in 1935. The height of the lowest tower Borovitskaya – 52 meters, the highest, Troicksya – 72. There were no tower cranes of that height in the country, but the word “no” does not exist for Russian engineers, there is the word “necessary”.
Experts of SIM have found an original solution. They designed and built a special crane which can be installed at the upper tier for each tower. At the base of the tent console was inserted into a metal base through the turret window. Thus, in several stages, first was performed a dismantling of two-headed eagles, and then hoisting of the stars.
Star for Troickaya Tower in Central Park of Culture and Rest of Gorkiy
Installation of the Kremlin stars has become a real holiday for Moscow. The stars were not transported in the night. The day before the hoisting of the Kremlin towers stars were put on display in the park of Gorkiy. However, mere mortals to see the stars come secretaries of city and district of the CPSU (b), in the light of the spotlights shone Ural gems and sparkling rays of stars. Eagles shot from the towers, installed here, clearly showing the dilapidated state of the “old” and the beauty of the “new” world.
On october 24, 1935, the first star was installed on the Spasskaya Tower. Before lifting it was carefully polished with a soft cloth. At this time, the mechanics checked winch and motor of crane.
At 12 hours and 40 minutes there was a command “Veer little!” Star went off the ground and slowly began rising. When it was at the height of 70 meters, the machine stopped. Standing on the top of the tower climbers cautiously picked up the star and sent to the spire. In 13 hours and 30 minutes, the star fell exactly on the reference pin. Witnesses recall that on that day the Red Square gathered several hundred people who were watching the operation. At the time when the star appeared on the spire, the whole crowd started cheering to the climbers.
The next day, the five-pointed star was installed on the spire of Troickiaya Tower. On 26 and 27 of October, the stars were on Nikolskaya and Borovitskaya towers. Installers worked so well that they needed no more than one and a half of hour to install each star. The exception was the star of Troickaya Tower, where a strong wind lasted about two hours. A little more than two months passed since newspapers published a decree about the setting of stars, a. Or rather – just 65 days. Newspapers wrote about the labor heroism of Soviet workers, who created a true work of art.
However, the new symbols have been prepared for a short life. The first two winters, have shown that due to the aggressive action of the Moscow rain and snow Ural gems and gold leaf that covered the metal parts faded. In addition, the stars were disproportionately large, it was not revealed at the design stage. After their installation it became clear that visually symbols are absolutely not in harmony with the slim tents of Kremlin towers.
The stars literally suppressed the architectural ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin. And in 1936 it was decided to design new stars. The sketches were produced by the famous theater artist and painter, People’s Artist of the USSR, academician F.F. Fedorov. It was his idea to use a special ruby glass instead of metal to decorate the stellar rays. He redefined the shape, size, and pattern of the stars.
In May 1937 it was decided to replace the metal stars with the ruby that have a powerful internal illumination. And Stalin decided to install such a star on the fifth tower of the Kremlin – Vodovzvodnaya also: from a new Bolshoy Kamenniy bridge there was a stunning view on this slender and very harmonious architectural tower. And it became another very advantageous element of “monumental propaganda” era.
Ruby glass was brewed on a glass factory in Konstantinovka, prescription of Moscow’s glassmaker N. Kurochkin. It was necessary to prepare 500 square meters of ruby glass for which a new technology – “selenium ruby” was invented. Prior to that, in order to achieve the desired color gold was added in the glass; Selenium is cheaper, and the color is deeper. In the base of each star there were established special bearings, so that they, in spite of the severity, could be rotated like a weathercock. They are not afraid of rust, hurricane as “rim” of star is made of special stainless steel.
The principal difference: weathervanes indicate where the wind blows, and the Kremlin stars – from where. Did you understand the essence and significance of the fact? Thanks to the diamond-shaped cross-section of the star it always stands forehead against the wind. Even if everything around and would be crashed, the stars and the tents would remain safe. It was designed and built so.
But suddenly the following thing appeared: in the sunlight ruby stars look … black. The answer was found – five-pointed beauties had to be made with double-layer, and the bottom, the inner layer of glass should be milky white and scatter light. By the way, it ensured a more illumination, and hided filaments of lamps from the eyes of people. By the way, there was a dilemma – how to make a smooth glow? If the lamp is installed in the center of the star, the rays are likely to be less bright. Combination of glass of different thickness and color saturation helped. Furthermore, lamps are enclosed in prismatic refractors.
Chief engineer Professor Alexander Landa (Fishelevich) was appointed for the design and installation of the stars. His project is still kept in Samara – five massive albums of drawings in red bindings. They say that they impress no less than stars themselves. But that’s another story.
And what about the first stars, one of them, which in 1935-1937 was on the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin, later was installed on the spire of the North River Station.
Kremlin stars not only rotate, but also shine. To avoid overheating and damage about 600 cubic meters of air passes through the stars per hour. Stars do not face the power outage because their energy is produced autonomously. Lamps for the Kremlin stars developed at the Moscow Electrical Lamp Plant.
The power of three – on the Spasskaya, Nikolskaya and Troitskaya towers – 5000 watts and 3700 watts – on Borovitskaya and Vodovzvodnaya. In each two filaments mounted and connected in parallel. If one burns the lamp continues working, and the control panel displays the fault. To change the lamps you do not have to go up to the star, the lamp goes down on a special rod right through the bearing. Procedure requires 30-35 minutes.
In the history of the stars they went out only 2 times. The first time, during the Second World War. That’s when stars were first extinguished – they were not only a symbol but also an excellent beacon-guide. Closed with burlap, they waited patiently when the bombing would stop, and when it was over, it became clear that in many places the glass is damaged and requires replacement. The second time was when Nikita Mikhalkov in 1997 filmed his “The Barber of Siberia”.
The center console control and management of ventilation of stars is located in Troickaya Tower of the Kremlin. They have the most modern equipment. Every day, twice a day, a visual check of the work lamps occurs, as well as switching of their fans.
Every five years, the stars are washed by industrial climbers.