Look Into The Future : A Philatelic Tribute to the People of Ukraine

Please join us at HSE in our hope for peace and freedom for the people of Ukraine as we offer this philatelic tribute to the 44 million people of the largest country in Eastern Europe.

The people of Ukraine have endured over many centuries to recapture and maintain their freedom. Many of their stamp issuances celebrate Ukrainian independence.

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.

Kyivan Prince Saint Vladimir

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. 

Founders of Kyiv

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.

Independence Day

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] [401]

Transcarpathia

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.

Military Equipment

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.

Cossack Leaders

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. [904]

Seven Wonders Of Ukraine
Castles

Europa

Europa are 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.

Europa: Integration

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. 

Babyn Yar

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.

Taras Shevchenko

Folktales and Children’s Books

Are favorite stamp offerings in Ukraine just as they are in the rest of Eastern Europe.

Children’s Art

Endangered Species, Animals and Marine Life

These stamp issuances always hold a special meaning for philatelists.

Look Into The Future: Chernobyl

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.

The Bauer Family

Hungaria Stamp Exchange

Please consider donating to World Central Kitchen’s relief efforts to provide fresh meals to Ukrainian families.

Summer 2021: Olympics, Sports & Music

What do Olympics, Sports and Music have in common?

Each requires practice, patience and striving for perfection and ….

They are all depicted on the stamps of Eastern Europe!

Dear Friends & Philatelic collectors,

As we launch into the beginning of summer, we here at Hungaria Stamp Exchange hope you are enjoying your continuing philatelic journey. We extend our appreciation for your support of the many magnificent topical and country stamps of Eastern Europe as part of your stamp collection process. With that in mind we are pleased to offer this newsletter on the Olympics, Sports and Music stamps of Eastern Europe.

Modern Era Olympics are well celebrated on the stamps of Eastern Europe and what could be more fitting than a review of these offerings in light of the most unusual circumstances for the 2020 Summer Olympics. First being scheduled during a global pandemic and now finally being played in 2021. We wish for success for each and every athlete at the Summer Games this year.

Philately and the modern day Olympics have a symbiotic relationship starting with the first modern day Games held in Athens in 1896 when Greece issued a series of stamps to mark the occasion. These stamps actually contributed to the financial success of the event which had been impacted by the financial and political crisis of the times.

Demetrios Sakorafos, the founder of the Greek philatelic association, had the idea of issuing a set of commemorative stamps with a nominal value higher than that of common postage stamps, with the proceeds going toward the fund for holding the Olympic Games. The stamps, with designs featuring ancient Greek athletic competitions, earned a considerable sum of money and the Greek Post became the first sponsor of the Modern Day Olympic Games. Initially only the Olympic host countries issued stamps to commemorate the Olympics. This tradition later ended when other countries alongside France issued stamps for the 1924 Paris Olympics. As the Olympic movement gained in popularity, interest in commemorative stamps grew among philatelic collectors. More stamps were published featuring specific athletes and sports. For more philatelic information on the Modern Day Olympics please refer to an earlier HSE Newsletter on Philately and The Modern Era Olympics.

Soviet stamps issued for the 1980 Moscow Olympics featured various sports and Olympic venues: the Krylatskoye Rowing Canal, the cycling track, and the sailing center, as well as Red Square and the 1980 Olympics mascot, Mishka the Bear. When more than 50 countries boycotted the games, these countries also cancelled their planned postage stamp issues or destroyed the issues printed. (As a trivia question, who can remember why countries including the United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics is Moscow?)

Continue reading “Summer 2021: Olympics, Sports & Music”

Eastern European Stamps of Women

Dear Friends and Philatelists,
Summertime is a traditional time for taking a family holiday or perhaps visiting another country or city. The summer of 2020 finds many of us not currently able to do this given these challenging times.  It is, however, an opportune time to reconnect with our stamp collections and continue our philatelic travels, perhaps to new countries or with new topics or themes. And of course, we can continue to connect with family and friends, if even at a distance. Now is certainly time to pay tribute to our many brave front-line workers.

Monarchs, Saints, Performers, & Scientists and Social Activists

Eastern European Stamps of Women span a wide range of topics, from monarchs to saints and scientists, artists and performers, to social activists and heroines. The Hungaria Stamp Exchange hopes you enjoy reading our blog post and viewing some of the stamps in our on-line store.

Monarchs

Two of the most influential female Eastern European monarchs whose combined reigns lasted almost 75 years were Catherine the Great of Russia and Maria Teresa, ruling the Hapsburg Empire. Both of these extraordinary rulers are depicted on Eastern European stamps.   

Catherine the Great   (born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst;  May 1729 –November 1796) was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796 and the country’s longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d’état that she organized, resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown. During her reign Russia was revitalized; it grew larger and stronger and was recognized as one of the great powers of Europe and Asia.

In her accession to power and her rule of the empire, Catherine often relied on her noble favorites, most notably count Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by highly successful generals such as Alexander Suvorov  and admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish wars. Russia colonized the territories of Novorossiya along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. In the west, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine’s former lover, King Stanisław August Poniatowski, was eventually partitioned with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started to colonize Alaska, establishing Russian America.

An admirer of Peter the Great, Catherine continued to modernize Russia along Western European lines. The economy and military conscription continued to depend on serfdom; increasing demands of the state and of private landowners intensified the exploitation of serf labor. This was one of the chief reasons inciting several rebellions including the large scale Pugachev Rebellion of Cossacks and peasants. Cossacks were a group of Russian military warriors who established free self-governing communities in exchange for their military service. When their privileges were threatened they revolted, with the most famous being Pugachev.

Continue reading “Eastern European Stamps of Women”
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