The flag of Russia (Russian: Флаг России) is a tricolour flag consisting of three equal horizontal fields: white on the top, blue in the middle, and red on the bottom. The flag was first used as an ensign for Russian merchant ships and became official as the flag of the Tsardom of Russia in 1696. It remained in use until 1858, when the first official flag of the Russian Empire was decreed by Alexander II, which was a tricolor consisting of three horizontal fields: black on the top, yellow in the middle, and white on the bottom. A decree in 1896 made the original white, blue, and red tricolor the official flag of the Russian Empire until its eventual capitulation in 1917. Following the creation of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian tricolor was abolished, and its usage was preserved by the White Movement and the Russian state during the Russian Civil War.