of Labour and Hero of Socialist Labour are or were highly coveted official titles in some socialist or former socialist nations.
The Soviet Union started awarding the official honorary title of a "Hero of Socialist Labour" (Russian: Герой Социалистического Труда) in 1938. Four years earlier the Soviets had introduced the Hero of the Soviet Union.
The title Hero of Socialist Labour was founded by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on December 27, 1938.
Originally, Heroes of Socialist Labour were awarded the highest decoration of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin and a certificate from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. In order to distinguish the Heroes of Socialist Labour from other Order of Lenin recipients, the "Hammer and Sickle" gold medal was introduced by decree of the Presidium on May 22, 1940, to accompany the Order of Lenin and the certificate.
The institution of a Hero of Labour or Hero of Socialist Labour was introduced in a number of communist nations. In most of these countries the Russian system of single-class or classless Socialist Orders of Merit in three degrees was copied. These counties often chose to emulate the Russian design of little golden stars on small ribbons contained within golden clasps.
In the 1970s there were Heroes of Labour and Heroes of the Nation in most of the countries of the Warsaw Pact and in the Soviet satellites in America (Cuba), Africa and Asia. After the fall of communism most of these orders were abolished.
The Russian Federation, Belarus, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba still award little golden stars and the titles Hero of (Socialist) Labour and Hero of the Nation.