Prior to the 17th Century, Ukrainian territories have been caught between competing empires and would overlap with Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita), Crimean Khanate, Hapsburg lands and Czarist Russia.
The two countries of Ukraine and Russia shared heritage goes back more than a thousand years to a time when Kyiv, now Ukraine’s capital, was at the center of the first Slavic state, Kyivan Rus. In A.D. 988 Vladimir I, the pagan prince of Novgorod and grand prince of Kyiv, accepted the Orthodox Christian faith and was baptized in the Crimean city of Chersonesus.
Several times over the past 10 centuries, Ukraine has been carved up by competing powers. Mongol warriors from the east conquered Kyivan Rus in the 13th century. In the 16th century Polish and Lithuanian armies invaded from the west. In the 17th century, war between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Czardom of Russia brought lands to the east of the Dnieper River under Russian Imperial control. The east became known as “Left Bank” Ukraine; lands to the west of the Dnieper, or “Right Bank,” were ruled by Poland. More than a century later, in 1793, right bank (western) Ukraine was annexed by the Russian Empire.
Over the years that followed, a policy known as Russification banned the use of the Ukrainian language, and people were pressured to convert to the Russian Orthodox faith. Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia for over 34 years ordered the invasion of Crimean in 1776 and ultimately led to the loss of Ukraine autonomy.
Ukraine suffered some of its greatest traumas during the 20th century. After the communist revolution of 1917, Ukraine was one of the many countries to fight a brutal civil war before being fully absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1922.
In the early 1930s Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orchestrated a famine that resulted in the death of millions of Ukrainians to force peasants to join collective farms . Afterward, Stalin imported large numbers of Russians and other Soviet citizens—many with no ability to speak Ukrainian and with few ties to the region—to help repopulate the east.
Philatelic issuances reflect these turbulent times with the issues of overprints with forgeries being common with these issues.
Eastern Ukraine came under Russian rule much earlier than western Ukraine, people in the east having stronger ties to Russia. Western Ukraine, by contrast, spent centuries under the shifting control of European powers such as Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the west tending to support more Western-leaning politicians. The eastern population tends to be more Russian-speaking and Orthodox, while parts of the west are more Ukrainian-speaking and Catholic.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine became an independent nation.
There is an ecological divide between the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine known as the steppes, with their fertile farming soil and the northern and western regions, which are more forested [Forest stamp] 
Crimea was occupied and annexed by Russia in 2014, followed shortly after by a separatist uprising in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas that resulted in the declaration of the Russian-backed People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. Today, Russian troops are again invading Ukraine.
Legacy of the Cossacks
Ukrainian Zaporozhian Cossacks have come to symbolize Ukraine’s ethnic image, much like the medieval knights of Western Europe. Don Cossacks are Russian.
Ukrainian Cossacks descended from a variety of nationalities and social groups. Their ancestors came from Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and Tatar territories, and migrated to the southern steppes to hunt, fish, gather honey, and make hand crafted goods. References to Cossacks first appear at the end of the 15th century, with their fame spreading throughout Europe over the next hundred years. Their raids and robberies intimidated Turkey, and their support of Poland in campaigns against the Muscovites shook the throne of Moscow.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Christian European governors considered the Cossacks to be crucial allies in their war against the Ottoman Empire. In 1621, Lithuanian-Polish troops battled the Ottoman Empire at Khotyn. There, Cossack troops, headed by Hetman Petro Sahaidachny, joined Polish-Lithuanian forces and they stopped the Turkish army at its borders.
After that, the Zaporozhian Cossacks imposed increasingly large requirements on the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The reaction of the Poles did not satisfy the Cossacks, so they raised a rebellion under the leadership of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. It ended with the creation of Cossack autonomy.
Ukrainian Cossacks gained their independence in 1649. That year, as a result of the Zboriv agreements between the leaders of the Rzeczpospolita and Cossack Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, it was formed as part of the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Bratslav regions.
It was the Cossacks who spread and popularized the term Ukraine as the name of their territories.
Cathedrals, Churches & Monasteries
Stamp issuances include symbols of Ukrainian religion, some of which are World Heritage sites.
Landmarks, Castles, & Universities
Offerings are a tribute to Ukraine heritage and are well depicted on stamps issuances, the highlight of which are the Seven Wonders of Ukraine. 
Europaare special stamps issued by European postal administrations which focus on Europe as the central theme.
Ukraine as an integral part of Europe contributes beautiful Europa stamp issuances, including Europa Water, Circus, Integration, Children’s Books, Musical Instruments, Old Toys and Bridges.
Eastern Europe stamp issuances of 1995 Europa: Peace & Freedom are the hope for the future.
Culture, Religion and Music
Are reflected in many stamp issuances of Ukraine. These range from the World Heritage Site of Babyn Yar, to Princes and Monks to Traditional Ukraininan Easter Eggs and musical artists.
Taras Shevchenko, poet and painter, was the most important writer and significant figure in the development of a modern Ukrainian national consciousness. Born a serf, Shevchenko was bought out of servitude by a group of artists who recognized his talent for painting. Though considered by many to be the father of modern Ukrainian painting, Shevchenko made his unique mark as a poet.
Folktales and Children’s Books
Are favorite stamp offerings in Ukraine just as they are in the rest of Eastern Europe.
Endangered Species, Animals and Marine Life
These stamp issuances always hold a special meaning for philatelists.
As we come to the end of our newsletter philatelic tribute to the people of Ukraine, our wishes for the courageous people of Ukraine are for brighter skies and more peaceful times.
All of us at HSE wish you a good start to the New Year as we turn the page on 2021 which for many reasons seemed to be a year of ups, downs and arounds. With all of that taking place, we were so glad to hear from many of you about philatelic events and happenings as well as your renewed or continued interest in stamp collecting.
We do thank each of you for your continued support and interest in the offerings from the Hungaria Stamp Exchange and look forward to working with you in the New Year.
Looking forward on the philatelic horizon it is now time for us to share highlights of HSE’s eclectic new issues of Eastern European philately for 2021 with a strong focus on protecting the environment and other offerings which we are sure will delight both topical and country collectors.
Always seem to be popular stamp issuances. We found the following hard to resist. Whether Czech Republic Young Animals: Puppies Booklet or Romania Man’s Best Friend is a heartwarming set of 4 stamps of service dogs helping people and dogs with children.
Croatia Children’s World: Cats III is a set of colorful captivating stamps of cats from four parts of the world: Bengal cat, Bombay cat, Egyptian Mau and the Norwegian forest cat.
Children’s Stories & Fairytales
Did you ever wonder where the story of Puss in Boots originated? In Czechoslovakia! And, now there is a wonderful issuance celebrating the famous 1935 work of writer and illustrator Josef Lada which was dedicated to his daughters. Nico in boots and jacket setting out on a journey depicted from the original book about the small black pussy cat in boots called Mikeš (the name was translated into English as Nico) and 38 other languages.
Cartoon & Fairytale Characters
Hungary continues its series of cartoon and fairytale characters with a delightful miniature stamp sheet celebrating Kukori and Korkoda.
Protection of the Resources of Eastern Europe
Many of the new issues of 2021 focused on the protection and restoration of Eastern Europe’s natural resources and landmarks, preservation of endangered species (Europa 2021) and natural resource management.
Europa: Endangered Species
Europaare special stamps issued by European postal administrations which focus on Europe as the central theme. HSE is pleased to continue its offerings of Europa stamps from several Eastern Europe countries. The theme for Europa 2021 is Endangered National Wildlife and the range of wildlife covered in this collection is amazing. One of the stamp offerings from Poland, the Eurasian Lynx, was voted most beautiful Europa stamp in 2021!
Preservation of Natural Resources
These stamp issuances are beautiful in their own right but even more amazing are the actual natural resources of Eastern Europe that they represent.
The Czech Rare Rock Formation Divic Kameny stamp depicts unique rock formations formed during the Ice age, while the Czech Milovice Nature Preserve is the first in the world to include and cohabitate three species: bison, wild horses and aurochs(an extinct wild ox of Eastern Europe). The Czech Ramsar Convention issue celebrates the 50th Anniversary to protect wetlands, while Slovakia issuance celebrates the Demanovska Cave of Liberty.
Hungary One With Nature Exhibition is set of 8 stamps or sovenir sheet spotlighting the One With Nature Exhibition where hunting, forestry, fishing themes combine with sustainability of nature. The 8 stamp set represents the animals and the souvenir sheet has portraits of Zsigmond Szechenyi (Hungarian hunter), Kalmon Kettenberger (Hungarian Africa researcher) and Józef Attila (prize winning writer)
Other stamp issuances highlighting the natural resources of Eastern Europe include Hungary Pollinating Insects, Romanian birds and desert fauna (yes, Romania has a desert) and Croatian fauna. The Croatian issuance includes Bottlenose Dolphin, Devil Ray and Loggerhead Sea Turtle.
A truly special issuance is the one from the Ukraine, “Look Into the Future”, which commemorates the 35th Anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Czech Republic EXPO Dubai 2020. This issuance celebrates the first EXPO of its kind held in the Middle East and will house international exhibits of participating countries.Czech Republic EXPO Dubai 2020 was originally scheduled in 2020 later moved to October 2021-March 2022. The Czech Republic presentation is a unique oasis project developed by the scientists from the University Center for Energy at the Czech Technical University in Prague. Using Solar power only, the system is designed to convert air to water overnight.
Planet Budapest issuance highlights the Sustainability Summit held in Budapest. The summit is the joint effort of the Visegrad countries dealing with sustainable development. The purpose is to draw attention to adverse environmental, social and economic processes and to show these negative changes can still be reversed. The Visegrad countries (V4) include Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
Joint Issues in 2021
include the Visegrad Group (V4) 30th Anniversary, Croatia/Kyrgyzstan Protected Bird White Winged Woodpecker, Croatia/PolandSton Saltworks and Bochnia Salt Mine.
Visegrad Group (V4) includes the countries of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. The Visegrad Group was created with the aim of moving away from Communism and implementing the reforms required for full membership into the Euro-Atlantic Institutions. The 1991 Visegrad Declaration is part of the tradition of cooperation between neighboring countries with a common destiny. This joint issue celebrates 30 years of close political, economic and social relations.
Croatia-Kyrgyzstan Protected Bird Series : White Winged Woodpecker. The white-winged woodpecker is a relatively little-known species of Central Asian woodpecker. It extends from the western shores of the Aral Sea to the east along northern Kyrgyzstan and southern Kazakhstan to western China, south to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
Bochnia Salt Mine & Ston Saltworks issuance is a beautiful depiction of The Saltworks which are the oldest in Europe with a tradition over many centuries starting with the Romans. Salt provided the means for the Romans to overpower the indigenous Illyrian population starting in 36 BC. The quality of the salt is exceptional and is now a historical treasure to be protected.The Bochnia Salt mine’s greatest treasure is it’s unique microclimate providing it with unique therapeutic properties and as such in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Trains & Cars (Vintage and otherwise)
Eastern Europe new stamp issues of 2021 find trains in the most unusual places from the Czech Republic stamp of the Negrelli Viaduct, to Armenia locomotive to the Classic Rock music stamp from Hungary featuring the band Locomotiv GT.
Czech Alois Negrell Railway pioneer is celebrated on the issuance of the Negrelli Viaduct train bridge stamp. Since the completion of construction in 1849 it continues to be the longest railway bridge in Central Europe and the first constructed of granite.
Car issuances range from the Czech Wikow sports roadster to another Czech issuance honoring stamp designer Vaclav Zapadlik. This is complemented by the absolute opposite with the Croatia Crypto stamp withRimac Nevera, a fully electric hypercar able to achieve a top speed over 400 kilometers per hour and able to provide anunprecedented level of performance. It is completely designed, developed and manufactured at the company Rimac Automobili in Croatia.
Eastern European stamp issuances continue to cover a wide range of musical offerings from the stamp celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Slovakia teachers choir, to the Croatia issuance offering of the 150th Anniversary of the Zagreb philharmonic orchestra, to the Hungary stamp celebrating the 50th Anniversary of rock band Locomotiv GT. The Czech Republic stamp honors Jazz Musician Gustav Brom who narrowly escaped arrest by the Gestapo at 18 years old to become the greatest Czech musician and longest lasting Eastern European big band leader of all time.
Works of Art on Stamps
Art on stamps as well as the recognition of Eastern European Artists are well represented in the new issues of 2021. Czech Republic issuances include celebrations of the works of sculptor Theodor Pistek, artist Frantisek Ronovsky and sculptor Bohumil Zemanek. Romania stamp celebrates the 190th Anniversary of the birth of Theodor Aman, Hungary celebrates the 550 anniversary of the birth of Albrecht Durer, while Bosnia (Serb) issuance is a depiction of “Luncheon on the Grass” by Sava Sumanovic.
Sports & Olympics
What an interesting year 2021 was for sports and stamp issuances! The 2020 Summer Olympics were held in 2021 with stamp issuances having dates of 2020 and 2021. And now we are awaiting the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics! We hope you will watch for additional stamp issuances coming in the next few weeks.
Other sports issuances include HU Driving European Championship for Four In Hand celebrates the event staged at the “One with Nature” World of Hunting and Nature 50th Exhibition.
Summer Olympics many of which were issued in 2020 but run in 2021 include issuances from Slovenia, Estonia, Moldova, Romania and Azerbaijan.
Cultural Stamps of Eastern Europe: Folk Festivals, Costumes, Jewelry & Gastronomy
Continue to provide some of the most entertaining and colorful stamp issuances of Eastern Europe. Here are some highlights of just a few of our favorites with many more to offer in the online store.
Czech Kyjov Folk Festival depicts highlights of the annual folk festival in Kyjov, capital of Moravian Slovakia region while there is also a stamp issue celebrating the Festival of Carnivals. Armenia stamp is a Traditional Cuisine offering featuring Ghapama (stuffed pumpkin).
Stamp issuances from Croatia include Procession of Za Krizen (Following the Cross) on the island of Hvarand Euro Med: Jewelry of the Mediterranean. One of the most luxurious forms of Dubrovnik traditional jewellery are gold earrings. These are the earrings worn by women from Konavle. They are called fjočice, and women from Konavle wear them as the traditional festive way of dressing on their wedding day and in the first year of marriage.
Croatia Annual Spring Procession of Queens (Ljelje from Gorjani). On Pentecost Sunday this ritual is celebrated in Slavonia, Baranja and Srjem and is known as Kings and Queens. There is a ritual procession by young girls through the village in colorful silk clothes. At the head of the procession are the Kings flowed by Queens. They are accompanied by musicians. The procession stops to perform at individual houses and there they are treated to food and drinks. Both of these Croatia Procession stamp offerings are included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage series.
Castles, Landmarks & Tourism
Eastern European stamp offerings are filled with beautiful castles and landmarks and many other interesting locations for tourism. Croatia series on Tourism features Nin, a Liburnian site and first capital of the Croats while also having stamp issuances on bridges, viaducts and castles. An ancient Fortress is depicted on the stamp from Armenia. Beautiful Stamps of Castles continue to be issued by Croatia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
Regions and Towns series also continue to celebrate amazing locations in Hungary. Perhaps one of the most unusual landmark buildings celebrated on stamps is the Czech issuance featuring The Dancing House, a contemporary art gallery.
Religion & Holidays
Stamp issuances present a wide range of lovely presentations from many Eastern European countries including Christmas and Easter Faience (glazed ceramic ware) from Slovakia; Easter and Christmas stamp issuances from Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia. Special religious issues include the Founding of the Dominican Order in Hungary, the 52nd Eucharist Congress in Hungary and Armenia Printing House of the Holy Etchmiadzin 250th Anniversary.
Croatia has continued its devotional series of the Marian shrines and Slovakia celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Consecration of the first Slovak Bishops.
And of course there is the fun celebration of Valentines Day of Bosnia (Croat) and Greetings of Love of All Kinds from Slovenia.
Celebration of Space Exploration is an important focus this issue year with the 60th Anniversary of the first manned space flight of Yuri Gagarin and the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 14 with John Glenn. Special stamps celebrating the triumph of Gagarin were issued by Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia. Kyrgyzstan also issued a stamp of the orbital space station.
Bulgaria issued the celebration of the Apollo14 with John Glenn. And, who can resist the Bosnia issuance celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Orville Wright ?
Science & Health
With a world wide pandemic still taking its sad toll around the globe for a second year, many Eastern European countries have issued stamps honoring the medical professionals who have fought tirelessly against the Covid-19 Virus.
Other Science issuances include the 150th Anniversary of the Hurbanovo Observatory from Slovakia, Macedonia’s issuance to honor the 100th Anniversary Discovery of Insulin, Croatia stamp offering to celebrate the 100th Anniversary Création Association for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Hungary has issued a stamp to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the birth of French writer, Jean De La Fontaine, with a Miniature Sheet.
On a different note, Croatia stamp issuance highlights UNICEF work in Croatia with a celebration of the 75th Anniversary with “A Smile for Every Child”.
Lunar New Year of the Ox
Is celebrated with stamp issuances from Bulgaria, Hungary, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Slovenia.
Philately & Postal History
Continue to be popular topics for both topical and country collectors alike. Czech Republic has issued a stamp to honor the tradition of stamp design (Vintage Car) while Slovakia has a Stamp Day issuance to honor Mikulas Klimcak. Hungary stamp issuances include celebration of 150 years of stamp production, honors to eminent philatelists, 94th Stamp Day and a continuation of postal history series which started in 2017.
Hungaria Stamp Exchange is pleased to preview an exciting event scheduled for Spring 2022. Hunfilex 2022 is the first International philatelic exhibit of this magnitude in 50 years that Hungary is hosting. In 2022 Budapest will again be the venue for the World Stamp Championship.
One host of the event,the National Association of Hungarian Stamp Collectors (MABÉOSZ) will be celebrating the 100th year anniversary of its founding. This prestigious event will be co-hosted by the Organization of European Philatelic Associations (FEPA) welcoming stamp collectors from all over the world to Budapest. During the celebration several special issuances will be released. HSE will be sharing more information closer to the event.
We look forward to hearing from you in 2022 with tales of your stamp adventures.All good wishes for the New Year,
Looking at the Balkan area geographically, with a peninsula being a “piece of land almost entirely surrounded by water but connected to the mainland on one side”, let’s see what happens if we apply this definition to the Balkan States. Lands bordering the Balkan States in the North, Northwest and Northeast are Hungary, Italy and Moldova. Seas surrounding the Balkan States are the Adriatic in the West, Aegean in the South, Ionian in the Southwest and the Black Sea in the East. If we agree on the definition of the peninsula, then let’s look at who the current countries are on that peninsula and then their unique philatelic issuances. The former part appears to have an audience with varying opinions.
Our premise here at HSE is to include the following countries into the Balkans: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Kosovo, (Republic of North) Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Turkey.
While some people may choose to exclude Greece and Turkey from the Balkans because only part of these countries actually sit on the peninsula, with only half of these two countries residing on the peninsula, both have played major roles in the development of the Balkan States. Besides, who could possibly deny Turkey being a Balkan country when the name Balkan is Turkish for mountain?
The Balkan States or The Balkans have been described by some people historically, culturally or along ethnic lines. The rugged terrain of the mountains, the containment of the four seas combined with the ethnic and cultural diversity of the people of the Balkan peninsula create an eclectic presentation in the amazing stamps of Eastern Europe.