Russia - Imperial Russia: Medal for the Turkish War of 1877-1878, Light Bronze issue awarded to servicemen who had not directly participated in battles.
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The medal was instituted on 17th April 1878 during the reign of Tsar Alexander II to commemorate the victorious conclusion of the 1877 to 1878 war against Turkey.
In 1875 Christian Slavs in Bosnia and Herzegovina had rebelled against the Turkish oppression, which was followed in 1876 by an insurrection in Bulgaria, ruthlessly put down by units of the Turkish Army and irregulars. The tales of the atrocities spread throughout Europe and created mounting indignation in Russia, culminating in its Government declaring war on the Ottoman Empire on 24th April 1877.
On 26th-27th June 1877 the bulk of the Russian Army under the command of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaievich the Elder, brother of Tsar Alexander II, crossed the Danube near Sistova (Svishtov) his forces spread in several directions. Their advance into Bulgaria was hindered by the strongly fortified town of Plevna, defended by the well trained of Osman Pasha, the veteran of the Crimean War. After a long siege and heavy fighting Plevna was finally captured towards the end of 1877 thus making it possible for the Russian Army to continue its campaign to liberate Bulgaria.
The Russian Army broke through the Ships Pass and crossed the Balkan Mountain Range in force, captured Sophia, and advanced towards Adrianople (Edirne) reaching the Sea of Marmara at San Stefano (Yesilkoy), twenty kilometres from Constantinople. On the Caucasian front the fortresses of Kars, Ardahan, and Erzerum were captured.
On 13th August 1911 Emperor Nicholas II issued a decree stating that individuals that had suffered wounds in action were to add a bow to the ribbon of the medal. The Silver Medal was awarded to all ranks of the Imperial Russian Army, who either fought during the Turkish War of 1877-1878 defending the Shipka Pass, were present at the blockade of Bayazet or participated in the storming of the fortress of Kars. The light bronze medal was awarded to all ranks of the Russian Army and Navy, who had participated in the battles on the Bulgarian or Caucasian fronts or in naval engagements in the Black Sea. The dark bronze medal was awarded to servicemen who had not directly participated in battles.