12th November 2019 Russia and the Soviet Union – Nick Bridgwater

On Tuesday 12th November we welcomed Nick Bridgwater who gave a display and talk on Russia & the Soviet Union.  He started off in 1850 at the commencement of the Empire of all Russians although the first stamps were not issued until January 1858. It appeared that the country was very unstable due to a succession of Tsars who had different views on land reform which had been a major source of unrest and of the inability to produce enough food. Alexander Ⅱ was a reformer but assassinated, Alexander Ⅲ a hardliner and the conservative Nicolas Ⅱ who was also assassinated.

Whilst a number of stamp issues were used by the Imperial Postal System a parallel Local Post System (Zemstvo) appeared in 1865 and was based around a system of local self-government. Mail staying within the local area could use the Zemstvo Rate but if the mail needed to enter the Imperial Postal System an additional stamp, charge and franking was required.

Following the abdication of Nicolas Ⅱ and the assassination of the entire Romanov family in 1917 the Russsian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (RSFSR) was established with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) as head. Lenin’s image is famed for appearing on more stamps than virtually any other leader including many that appeared after his death in 1924. During this period inflation was rampant peaking in 1922. In July 1923 the USSR was formed merging the RSFSR with Ukraine, Belorussia and Transcaucasia with the Uzbeck, Turkmen and Tajik Federations joining in 1924.

Interestingly, Joseph Stalin who lead the Soviet Union until the 1950’s appears on very few stamp issues.

In the second half of the evening Nick displayed numerous Propaganda/Advertising Postcards depicting various Communist 5 Year Plans along with many stamp issues that showed very jingoistic images which were aimed at sending positive messages to the populace and powerful illustrations to foreign powers.

Amongst these issues was one depicting “The Order of the Heroine Mother” which was a medal awarded to women who had mothered 10 children. Interestingly, similar medals were awarded to mothers depicting “The Order of Glory of Motherhood” for 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 children respectively.

The evening provided a tremendous reminder of Russian and the Soviet Union’s history along with philatelic material seldom seen.

In addition, the Banbury Festival of Stamps held at Blessed George Napier School on Sunday 11th November was a tremendous success and trust that all who attended enjoyed the event.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 27th November at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when Gerald Marriner will present material on the Falkland Islands – The 1982 Conflict. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.