The first “gertrudas,” [from geroy truda – “labor hero” in Russian] as the mocking and the envious called them, appeared in the Soviet Union much earlier – in the early 20s. At the time, the chests of the labor heroes were not adorned with anything: they were awarded only with certificates of honor. The idea to select the best of the best workers arose after the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was established for the highest heroes. The labor medals were made according to the same standard – Heroes of Socialistic Labor were also given the Order of Lenin, and later – since 1940 – the Hammer and Sickle gold medal. In the country of dreamers, the first Hero of Labor title was awarded to the best friend of all workers, Comrade Stalin, and the second one – to the small arms designer Degtyarev, which is rather symbolic. For the next 10 years, heroes were found solely in the defense industry and only later they started to grant the title to excellent workers of peaceful industries as well. Bronze busts were erected in native cities of twice and thrice heroes, and there was not a single four-time hero among the 19 thousand people awarded with the title – L. I. Brezhnev preferred the Hero of the Soviet Union stars.
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