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The Breakup of the Soviet Union

1990s

- Back

In 1996, David Olson (the founder of FICC) wrote an article for the Journal (v5n4) summarising the breakup of the Soviet Union. The intention on this page is to publish an expanded version of that article. xxx

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Prior to December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union (USSR) consisted of 15 Federated Soviet Socialistic Republics. This union came together between 1917 and the end of World War II. After the war, the entire area used stamps inscribed CCCP, all of which are listed in the Scott Catalogue under Russia. After the breakup of the USSR, 11 of the republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Georgia became the 12th member of the CIS on March 1, 1994. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia have not joined so far. Today all 15 republics issue their own stamps and all are listed in Scott under their individual country names. The breakup yielded six new Scott #1s and nine continuations of former country listings.

Stamps were issued for some of the new republics in the early formative stages. For whatever reason, Scott has not recognized some of those issues. Two examples are the two sets of Lithuania "angels" and the coat of arms set of Moldova. In addition, there are a number of locals, Cinderellas, propaganda labels, stamps issued by insurgent forces, and just plain bogus stamps which haven't gained Scott recognition. Included in this group are stamps from Chechnya, Batum, Tuva, Abkhazia, Tatarstan, and the issues of a philatelic club in Alma Ata. Time will tell whether any of these will be recognized by Scott.

The Baltic States, led by Lithuania, were the first to proclaim their independence, which was recognized by the old Soviet Union on September 6, 1991, three months before the official breakup. After the breakup, the new Russian republic was the first to issue stamps. These were inscribed Rossija instead of CCCP. All of the others, except Georgia, issued new stamps between January and May 1992. Georgia was the last country to issue its own stamps, on July 31, 1995.

The first stamp of Moldova was assigned #25 by Scott, possibly in an attempt to avoid confusion with the Moldavia and Moldavia-Walachia "Bulls" of 1885-1864, listed by Scott as Romania #1-21. The present-day Moldova and the Moldavia of old occupy approximately the same territory. Walachia is present-day Romania. The first stamp of Belarus was assigned #1. However, it had been preceded in 1920 by a set of five values issued for White Russia. Scott illustrates but does not number or value those stamps. Belarus and White Russia are about the same area.


At the time this page was created (May 2016), three of the ex-soviet states have joined the European Union and others have expressed an interest.

EU members EU candidates Non-applicants
Estonia (2004), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004) Western Balkans (Croatia (now an EU member), Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and [Albania plus the former Yugoslavia minus Slovenia]) Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
  Ukraine has asked and, of course, Russia


Post-Soviet states
Russia Post
1. Armenia 5. Georgia 9. Lithuania 13. Turkmenistan
2. Azerbaijan 6. Kazakhstan 10. Moldova 14. Ukraine
3. Belarus 7. Kyrgyzstan 11. Russia 15. Uzbekistan
4. Estonia 8. Latvia 12. Tajikistan  

Country
Previous Listings
New Listings
  Comments
BREAKER
Lithuania
1918 - 1940
Sc1 - 322
SG1 - 455
7th Oct 1990
Sc371 - 374
SG456 - 459
Lith Angel
Scott initially ignored the first issues, but now notes that Sc371-399 were "issued before the Soviet Union recognised the independence of Lithuania".
28th Sep 1991
Sc400 - 402
SG495 - 497
Lith
This is where Scott prefers to begin, the first issue after independence. Set of three marking the 650th anniversary of the death of the Grand Duke Gediminas.
Estonia
1918 - 1940
Sc1 - 153
SG1 - 160
1st Oct 1991
Sc200 - 208
SG161 - 169
Est
Set of nine coats of arms.
Latvia
1918 - 1940
Sc1 - 229
SG1 - 319
19th Oct 1991
Sc300 - 307
SG320 - 327
Latvia
Set of eight coats of arms.
Russia
1857 - 1991
Sc1 - 6055
SG1 - 6310
10th Jan 1992
Sc6056 - 6058
SG6311 - 6313
Rus
Set of three for the Albertville Olympics. Gibbons does not give this set any particular significance.
Kyrgzistan
none
4th Feb 1992
Sc1
SG1
Kyrg
15 kopeks, scene in the Sary-Chelek Nature Reserve.
Moldova
none
23rd Jun 1991
Sc1-3
SG1-3
Mold
Two coats of arms and a flag.
Ukraine
1918 - 1919
Sc1 - 74
SG
1st Mar 1992
Sc100 - 101
SG20 - 21
Ukr100
Set of two: 15k Cossacks and 15k immigration to Canada.
Belarus
none
20th Mar 1992
Sc1
SG1
Bel
1r jewelled cross.
Kazakhstan
none
23rd Mar 1992
Sc1
SG1
Kaz
50k "Golden Warrior" from 5th-century BC tomb.
Azerbaijan
1919 - 1924
Sc1 - 333
SG1 - 82
26th Mar 1992
Sc350
SG83
azer
35k map and flag.
Turkmenistan
none
26th Apr 2002
Sc1
SG1
Turk
50k jewelled necklace.
Armenia
1919 - 1922
Sc1-130
SG1 - 245
28th Apr 1992
Sc430
SG246 - 248
Arm
Triptych showing a rainbow over Mount Ararat containing one each 20k, 2r and 5r stamps.
Uzbekistan
none
7th May 1992
Sc1
SG1
Uzbek
20k Princess Nadira.
Tajikistan
none
20th May 2002
Sc1
SG1
Taj
50k mounted warrior, gold relief.
Georgia
1919 - 1923
Sc12-55
SG1 - 57
31st Jul 1995
Sc75
SG58-60
Geo
Souvenir sheet of three, commemorating Georgia's admission to the UN.

Sources: FICC Journal (v5n4), Wikipedia.


Page created 22 May 2016 Page updated 18 Jun 2016