Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest honorary title and the superior degree of distinction of the former USSR. It included Order of Lenin (the highest Soviet award) and, as the sign of excellence, Gold Star medal with the certificate of the heroic deed (gramota) from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (highest executive body of the land).
Both males and females were eligible to receive the title.
Total number of persons who were awarded this title is over 12,500. The great majority of them received it during the World War 2.
- The first recipients were the pilots Liapidevsky, Levanevsky, V.S.Molotov, M.T.Slepnev, Vodopianov who participated in the successful aerial search and rescue of the crew of the steamship "Cheliuskin" which sunk in Arctic waters crushed by the ice fields on February 13, 1934.
- There were over a hundred of twice Heroes of the USSR.
- Two famous Soviet fighter pilots Pokryshkin and Kozhedub were trice Heroes of the USSR.
- The only man to receive this title four times was marshal Zhukov.