The Cross of Saint George was established on
13 February 1807, by Emperor Alexander I. On 19 February 1856, it was divided into four
classes by Emperor Alexander II.
The Cross of Saint George was bestowed upon non-commissioned officers and enlisted men for extreme acts of bravery in the face of the enemy. Recipients automatically received promotion to the next highest rank, were exempt
from any form of corporal punishment, and paid no taxes upon retirement from military service. Beginning in 1913, living recipients received a stipend from the government for having received the award.