Alexander Nevsky (c. 1220 – 1263)
Alexander Nevsky is the most famous military leader of Medieval Russia who earned his surname “Nevsky” for defeating the Swedes on the Neva River in 1240. He was also successful against the Livonian Brothers of the Sword on the ice of the Lake Peipus in 1242 but he had to acknowledge the Tatar rule. However, due to his friendship with the Tartar khan he was appointed Grand Prince of Vladimir in 1252.
Alexander Nevsky was made a national hero and was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547. In 1751, Russian Empress Catherine the Great instituted the Imperial Order of St. Alexander Nevsky which was abolished in 1917 following the Bolshevik Revolution. The Soviet authorities revived the order in 1942 as purely military decoration and renamed it The Order of Alexander Nevsky.