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Mariy-El (Russia)

Марий Эл | Mariĭ Êl

Last modified: 2005-03-12 by
Keywords: mariy-el | sun: 4 rays | error | different reverse | law | tisten | bulygin (g. n.) | kazakov (v. g.) | danilov (a.) | clay | national ornament | ethnic |
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[Flag of Mariy-El]
by Željko Heimer and António Martins, 03 Mar 1999 | [two-sided]
See also: Other sites:

Presentation of Mariy-El

(Note: You need an Unicode-aware software and font to correctely view the cyrillic text on this page. See here transliteration details).

Like Komi, Mari are Finnic. "Mari" means "men"; they call their land Marintasavalta (land of men).
Giuseppe Bottasini, quoting [zig94]

The ancestors of the Mari used a banner, but nothing is known about it except its name, Tisten.
Ivan Sache, 30 Apr 2000


Description of Flag

According the Resolution relative to the flag and the coat of arms of the Republic of Marii-El of the 3rd of September 1992, the flag has three horizontal stripes (1:2:1), the first is blue, the second is white and the third is red. On the white stripe, at a distance to the hoist equal to the width of this white stripe, there is a local ornament (a stylised sun) and under, the name of the Republic in cyrillic letters:

Марий Эл

The sun and the letters are dark red. The colours blue, white and red remind the colours of the Russian flag. The ornament is a stylised sun, also the eternity, fertility, life. This dark brown red colour reminds the fact that in Marii El legends, it is said that life originally came from brown clay [see also the Bible].
Pascal Vagnat, 13 Sep 1997, quoting from [cdd]

The flag was designed by G. Bulygin and A. Danilov. In original russian text of the Law the colours of flag are «azure, white and scarlet». As you know they are the official colours of russian flag before 1993. Mariy El copied the russian colour names for their own flag law.
Victor Lomantsov, 01 May 2000

Symbolism

According to Jiři Tenora [jtn02] the sun symbol on the flag of Mordovia is divided into four parts symbolizing the four Mordovian tribes.
Ivan Sache, 18 Apr 2002

I wonder which four tribes these are — Mordovians are not an ethno-linguistically homogenous groups, that is sure, but the main division is twofold: Mokshians and Erzians, and these are diverse enough from each other, and enough homogenous within, to make any subdivision of these two groups look inimportant comparing with the primary division.
António Martins, 07 May 2002

The fragment of the national ornament has two meanings: it represents the an archaic element of the rural civilisations (a stylized sun, source of fecundity, life and eternity) and its reddish brown colour refers to a very ancient legendf of the Mari people. Life on earth is said to have stemmed from brown clay. The supreme god Kugu-Jumo gave it to his junior brother, who swam as a bird in the primordial ocean.
Ivan Sache, 30 Apr 2000, based on [jtn99]

Usage

Judging from the text of the law, it seems that the use of the flag is rather restricted and that there is no “civil” flag for private use.
Ivan Sache, 30 Apr 2000

The law section about flag usage (par. 3 bellow) is virtually identical to any other russian subnational flag law — thus unrestricted, even if seldom, usage by private citizens is to be expected.
António Martins, 04 Jun 2000


Law text

Confirmed by decision of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Mariy-El, #368-III of 3 September 1992

Decree about the state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El

  1. The state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El is a state symbol of the Republic of Mariy-El.
  2. The state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El is made of a rectangular field with three horizontal stripes: the upper stripe is azure blue and its width is 1/4 of the flag width, the middle stripe is white and its width is 1/2 of the flag width, the lower stripe is red and its width is 1/4 of the flag width. The length of the flag is related to its width by a ratio of 2:1. In the left half of the white stripe, near to the flag hoist, is represented a fragment of a Mari national ornament. It is inscribed in a square, whose side equals 1/4 of the flag width. Below is the writing MARIY EL. The emblem and the inscription are reddish brown. The distance between the geometrical center of the ornament and the hoist is 1/2 of the flag width. The distance between the geometrical center of the ornament and the lower edge of the blue stripe is 1/5 of the flag width. The thickness of the lines of the ornament is 1/50 of the flag width. The writing MARIY EL is inscribed in a rectangle, whose sides equal 1/4 and 1/10 of the flag width. The rectangle is placed below the ornament 1/20 of the flag width from the upper edge of the red stripe. The height of the small capital letters is 3/4 the height of the normal capital letters. The lines constituting the letters have a thickness of 1/10 of the height of the small capitals. [See construction sheet bellow — ed.]
  3. The state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El should be hoisted:
    1. on the buildings in which the President of the Republic of Mariy-El, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Mariy-El, the Government of the Republic of Mariy-El, the local Councils of the People’s Deputies and the Supreme Chiefs of the Administration are housed — permanently.
    2. on the buildings in which the sessions of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Mariy-El and the local Councils of the People’s Deputies take place — during the entire duration of the session.
    3. on the buildings of the Ministeries, State Boards, Administrations and other state organisms of the Republic of Mariy-El, as well as on houses for feast and memorial days.
  4. The state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El may occasionnaly be hoisted during ceremonies and other festivities organized by state organisms or social organizations.
  5. When the flags of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Mariy-El are hoisted together, both must be exactly at the same height.
  6. A sketch of the state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El is represented on the chest badge of the People’s Deputies of the Republic of Mariy-El and of the local Councillors of the People’s Deputies.
  7. The state flag of the Republic of Mariy-El and its representations must, regardless of the size, match exactly the colour and black-and-white illustrations attached to this decree.
translated by Ivan Sache, 30 Apr 2000, from [jtn99]

Construction sheet

[Flag of Mariy-El]
by António Martins and Željko Heimer, 17 Feb 2000 | [two-sided]

Different reverse

Nothing is said about the reverse side of flag in the text of the law. But when the law on flag was published in main newspapers in Mariy-El, it was accompanied with two drawings (I have this newspaper): averse and reverse of the flag. Reverse is without the emblem.
Victor Lomantsov, 01 May 2000

[Reverse of the flag of Mari-El]
by Željko Heimer, 11 May 1996 | [two-sided] [reverse]

There are no letterings nor sun on the reverse of the flag, there is nothing on the white stripe. This flag is one of the rare flags to have an obverse different from the reverse.
Pascal Vagnat, 13 Sep 1997 and 28 Mar 1999

See also: Incorrect reverse in use


New symbols?

Projects for new symbols of the republic are currently under preparation, because the current symbols do not abide some hrealdry rules (information sent by cheif heraldist Izmail Efimov, creator of the new symbols).
Dmitriĭ Ivanov (webmaster, Mariy-El gov site), 15 Aug 2001

The information about revsion of the arms (and flag?) by the russian State Herald is particularly important. I’m personally afraid of the result, as russian central heraldry authorities has shown as unimaginative, rigid and vexillologically unaware as in many other countries.
António Martins, 29 Aug 2001


Previous flag proposal

[1st flag proposal]
Ivan Sache, 30 Apr 2000

Bulygin and Kazakov designed first version: light-blue, white, green.
Victor Lomantsov, 01 May 2000

Tenora [jtn99] also shows an early proposal by G. N. Buligin and W. G. Kasakow. This flag never existed but was published as proposal by local media. It is a 1:2 flag, horizontally divided light blue - white - green (2:3:2). A simplified version of the national ornament is placed in the white stripe near the hoist. Blue symbolizes the sky but also the waters of the primordial ocean of the legend. White symbolizes the purity of the aims of the Mari people, the clothes for ceremonial days, and peace. Green symbolizes the places of worship and the ceremonies of the ancestors.

The ancestors of the Mari used a banner, but nothing is known about it except its name, Tisten. Therefore, the creation of national symbols for Mariy-El had to start from scratch. Initial proposals should have used reddish brown, yellow and white, according to the ethnographists W. A. Akzorin and I. W. Jefimow. Symbolic of reddish brown and white is explained above. Yellow is associated to the sun, according to a belief common in several finno-ugrian peoples: the sun initially constituted the yolk of the universe. The egg had been laid by the sky goddess Ilmatayurt (as a duck). The planets were later formed from her other eggs.

Ivan Sache, 30 Apr 2000


Coat of Arms

[Coat of arms]
by Dmitriĭ Ivanov (webmaster, Mariy-El gov site), 15 Aug 2001

The coat-of-arm shows the same device on a golden shield, with ears of wheat, oak leaves and pine needles, all tied by the national [maryan] colors.
Giuseppe Bottasini, quoting [zig94]

It strikingly resambles the soviet russian emblem (and consequentely the soviet maryan emblem).
António Martins, 23 Nov 2002


Maryan ethnic flag

[ethnic flag]
by Marco Pribilla, 02 Feb 2002

In the number 2/2001 of Alkukoti I found an interesting map chart [alk01] with the living areas and flags of the different Finno-Ugric peoples. It shows a white-black-red flag for the Mari.
Marco Pribilla, 02 Feb 2002

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