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Old 01-02-2008, 10:02 AM   #1
Greg Collins
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"Voenkomat" explaination sought

Could someone give me a good definition of "voenkomat"- I realize this designates a reissue of an award, but I'd like to know why the reissue, who ordered the reissue, the physical differences between the original issue and the "voenkomat" issue and which awards were slated for a "voenkomat" issue. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:51 AM   #2
Kirchgoens
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A sort of military district office...

My words below are based on what I've seen living in the former Soviet Union and just handling a lot of docs and medals in the markets and bazaars and meeting a lot of people who've dealt with their local voenkomat. You smart dudes who have a lot more collecting time please correct me.

I don't believe that this term means "reissue". It can mean a reissue, but probably more likely a later or post-war issue.

Definition? A voenkomat is a sort of military district office (literally "military commissariat"), and they exist today throughout the former Soviet Union, often at the city (depending on the city size) or oblast (state/large county) level. It's the office that handles issues like mandatory service call-ups, enlistments, physicals, reserve service and training, awards, military records (until forwarded to the archives upon full retirement age), etc.

As I understand it, GPW "Voenkomat" awards were often those that were given post-war as catch-up awards. This would also probably include the post-war long service awards up through late '57/early '58. As an example, I have many awards picked up in Uzbekistan. I have found just in my own collection very direct evidence of blocks of awards for later serial numbered BM's, OPW2's, ORS's, CSM's, and even OG3's. These must have come from the same voenkomats in the UzSSR.

Now, having said these came from the local voenkomat, I'll also say that many of those post-war awards were also issued at the unit level for those still serving at the time. Look closely at docs for awards like VoG to see if they are unit or Voenkomat. They could easily be either, but there were probably more discharged soldiers. Thus the greater difficulty in finding unit-awarded medals/orders.

I would say that there is no such thing as a "voenkomat" version of award. It's simply that so many veterans of the war were demobilized shortly after the war, and their final mustering out or veteran issues would have been handled by their local voenkomat. Thus, many, many awards were given at the voenkomats using some of the later versions of both numbered and unnumbered military awards.

The same would probably hold for "reissues". I would think the process for ordering/applying for a reissue could happen at the unit level or the voenkomat depending on the status of the veteran (still serving or demobilized/retired). Other than that, a reissue would occur for the reasons stated by Paul and Paul in their book (page 383). The reissue would be of the current type of medal/order received at the voenkomat with the orginal serial number the recipient had once held on an earlier type of the same award. Thus, you could probably get a T1V1 serial number on a T4 CSM. It's either bogus (probably most likely), or a reissue (probably far less likely).

A funny one concerning voenkomats in Uzbekistan today: in cotton season, the voenkomat will often call in a number of inactive reservists without explanation. When they show up at the appointed place and time, they turn in their mobile phones and car keys, pile into trucks, and spend a long day picking cotton, only to return to the city in evening. Many young guys have learned to ignore the calls because they figure they will just get pulled for a day of free labor.

...Brian

Last edited by Kirchgoens; 01-02-2008 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 01-02-2008, 11:50 AM   #3
Greg Collins
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Thanks, Brian. A lot of information to ingest so close to New Year's celebrations. For some time, I've been seeing a number of medals identified with "voenkomat issue" at a very reasonable price when considering the award. These have usually been of the labour variety- Don Bass Coal Mines and Reclamation of Black Soil Industries. However, I recently saw the "voenkomat" tag used on a Defense of Odessa medal as well. Just wondering if this is just hype to sell an outright fake or is this a real possibility.
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Old 01-02-2008, 11:52 AM   #4
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Greg,

Almost all medals exist in the "Voenkomat" variety. They have a struck, convex ring.

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