Though the flag was adopted in 1991, the basic design is actually over 300 years old. It was first used by Peter the Great and was the official flag of Russia from 1883. However, the flag was changed in 1917 after the Bolshevik revolution but was reinstated after the fall of the communist regime.
There have been many Russian flags over the years but the current white-blue-red flag is based on the Duchy of Moscow's coat of arms. The coat of arms features a white-armored Saint George on a white horse holding a blue shield as he defeats a dragon. This is set against a red background. The dominant on the coat are red, blue and white.
The colors are generally said to be symbolic of different things. One example is it's being symbolic of human qualities. These are:
White - nobility, frankness
Blue - honesty, commitment, chastity
Red - bravery, self-sacrifice, love
However it would seem that the colors have been given many different meanings over the years and if there is one specific meaning, it is difficult to be sure of what it is. It is more likely that the coloring of the flag was simply adopted from the coat of arms and has no symbolic meaning.
When the country is in a state of mourning, the flag is half-raised with two black ribbons. Every year since 1994 the whole of Russia has celebrated a national "State Flag Day" in the 21st of August. It is also worth noting that many of the Russian Federation Republics have their own flags. The Russians are proud of all their wonderful flags.
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