Belarusian Democratic Republic Military Virtue Medal

Belarus Military Virtue Medal

The Military Virtue Medal is a military award of the Belarusian Democratic Republic established by the Decree of BNR Rada President Ivonka Survilla on 21 January 2023.

Grounds for awarding

The medal is awarded for personal bravery shown in circumstances involving risk to life and the protection of freedom, independence and the democratic constitutional order of Belarus on the basis of the ideals of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, in particular, while conducting military and official duties, in battle and while conducting special tasks in the national interests of Belarus.

The medal can be awarded:

  • To members of the Belarusian military and of equivalent services, including Belarusian partisan units and Belarusian military units as part of foreign troops,
  • To Belarusians (both Belarusian citizens and persons who belong to the Belarusian nation but are not Belarusian citizens) who are fighting in a personal capacity in the ranks of foreign troops and services outside the borders of Belarusian military units,
  • To foreign military personnel who meet the criteria specified in the medal’s statute, and who significantly contributed to the performance of an armed mission by the Belarusian military in accordance with the criteria specified in the medal’s statute,
  • To civilian non-combatants who meet the conditions of the statute of the Military Virtue Medal.

The medal is awarded by the Decree of the President of the BNR Rada on the basis of submissions by the commanders of the relevant military units or the BNR Rada’s own information.

The title of Member of the Order of the Iron Knight is the senior award relative to the Military Virtue Medal. The medal is worn on the left side of the chest, after order insignia.

Historical roots

Sign of the Order of Virtuti Military, 1792 (source: Wikipedia)

According to its statute, the Military Virtue Medal is a successor of the Order of Virtuti Militari, which was founded in 1792 and is the oldest historical Belarusian military award, taking into account the status of Belarus as one of the successor states of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The name and design of the medal reflect this historical continuity. The changes made to the historical award reflect the values of modern Belarus as an independent democratic republic.

Similarly to the Military Virtue Medal, the Order of the Iron Knight also originates from the Order of Virtuti Militari.


The design of the medal was developed by a special Belarusian public heraldic commission and is based on the design of the oldest version of the Virtuti Militari insignia from 1792.

The medal has an oval shape and is made entirely of white (for private and non-commissioned officers) or yellow (for officers, or for repeated awarding of private and non-commissioned officers, or for awarding for special merits) metal. The front side includes the image of the Minor Pahonia coat of arms (an armoured hand holding a sword, derived from the the Pahonia coat of arms) and a ribbon with three stripes, which represents the Belarusian national white-red-white flag.

Minor Pahonia, from an armorial of 1562 (Source: National Library of Poland, Wikipedia)

The reverse side includes the Latin inscription “Virtue et Gladio” (“With courage and sword”) and the individual number of the medal.

The ribbon of the medal consists of vertical stripes of the following colors and arranged in the following order: very narrow white, wide crimson, very narrow white. A narrow vertical line of gold color may be added in the middle of the ribbon bar for the officer’s medal.

First awarding

The first awarding of the Military Virtue Medal took place on February 1, 2023, when the medal was awarded to 22 soldiers of the Belarusian Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment, who showed courage in the battles against the Russian occupation forces in Ukraine. The official awarding of medals took place on 9 March 2023 and became the first known ceremony of awarding Belarusian state awards for bravery on the battlefield since the 18th century.