Tag Archives: Russia

Russian Cosmonaut Day

Russian Cosmonaut Day is Celebrated every April 12, and I figured I would use this to feature Russia’s 1980 souvenir sheet issued to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the first-ever spacewalk. This took place on March 18, 1965, by Alexei Leonov. 


The spacewalk lasted 12 minutes and 9 seconds and commenced 90 minutes after the Voskhod 2 mission started. You can read more about the mission, the first spacewalk by going to  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voskhod_2.

Fedor A. Vasilev

Portrait of Vasilev by Kramskoi

Fedor Aleksandrovich Vasilev was a Russian landscape painter who was born on February 22, 1850, in Gatchina, Russia. His dad was a low ranking government official.

Having to work from the age of 12, Vasilev was a mailman, scribe and an assistant to an art restorer. After the death of his father he became the sole supporter of his family.

He started to take evening classes at the Society For Promotion of Artists’ School of Painting in 1863. While attending these classes, Vasilev, he met many painters who took care of him.

In 1866, famous landscape painter Ivan Shishkin, fell in love with Vasilev’s sister and began to teach him landscape painting.

Vasilev and Shishkin worked together between July and November 1867, on the island of Vallam. As a result of his friendship with Shishkin, Vasilev was introduced to other famous Russian painters and art collectors.

After painting Thaw in 1871, Vasilev became famous with the Russian royal family ordering a copy. Unfortunately, he was unable to enjoy his fame as he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had to leave Saint Petersburg for the Crimea.

It took him a long time to get used to his new surroundings and he painted landscapes from the plains of Russia. Eventually he got used to his new surroundings and started painting landscapes of the Crimea.

On October 6, 1873, at the age of 23 Vasilev passed away in Yalta.

Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyodor_Vasilyev

Ivan Kramskoi

Souvenir Sheet featuring a self portrait of Ivan Kramskoi

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi was a Russian painter and art critic. He was born on the 27th of May in Ostrogozhsk in the Russian Empire to a petit bourgeois family.

He was educated at the Imperial Academy of Arts and while at the Academy he led the “revolt of 14” which led to his and the others expulsion from the academy and the creation of a commune of democratically minded artists.

In 1869 Kramskoi was appointed as an academic to the Saint Petersburg’s Academy. While there he started a society who had the intent of (1) allowing Russians to experience their contemporary art; (2) develop a love for Russian art; and (3) to make it easier for Russian artists to sell their works.

Kramskoi passed away on April 6, 1887.

Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Kramskoi
Olga’s Gallery. https://www.freeart.com/gallery/k/kramskoy/kramskoybio.html

The Ships of the Russian Weapons of Victory Series

Originally published October 10, 2016.

Four ship stamps were issued in 2013 by the Russian Postal Authority to commemorate weapons that helped contribute to the “Russian” victory in WWII.

The first stamp in the set depicts the minesweeper, Mina.
The Mina was built as a fast coastal minesweeper for the Soviet Russian Navy at Sevastopol.   Completed in the same year construction started she was launched on August 20, 1937.
Mina‘s particulars are:
Displacement 410 tons standard, 503 ton full load. Dim. 62.0 x 7.2 x 2.26m (draught); Powered by two 42-BMRN-6 diesel engines producing 2,000 hp; twin shafts; speed 18.5 knots.
Armament 1 – 100mm gun B-24; 1 – 45mm gun 21-K; 3 – 12.7mm MG (Machine Guns); 2 DCR (Depth Charge Racks) (20); 31 mines and sweeps.  The Mina was designed to have a Crew 44
She was delivered to the Russian Navy on August 28, 1938, and served in the Black Sea.  Through the four years of WWII, she sailed 47 000 miles through mine infested waters and was responsible for escorting numerous ships.  Through her service, during the war, she had come under air attack no less than 300 times.  In July 1944 the Mina was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
The next stamp features the patrol boat Metel. This ship was constructed in sections that were shipped via train and sent to the Soviet Far East and assembled at the  Dalzavod Shipyard in Vladivostok.
Metel‘s particlars are:
Displacement 450 tons standard, 530 ton full load, dim. 71.5 x 7.4 x 2.6m. (draught); Powered by Curtiss geared steam turbines, 6,290 hp, speed 24 knots, economical 14 knots; Range by a speed of 14 knots, 1,200 mile.
Armament 2 – 102mm; 3 – 37mm guns; and 3 – 12.7mm MG.; 3 – 450mm torpedo tubes; 2 – mortars; carried 48 mines and 30 depth charges. Fitted out with mine sweeping equipment.  She had a crew compliment of 108.
Throughout WWII the Metel escorted ships through minefields.  During the battle of Chongjin, in Northern Korea  the ship and crew distinguished themselves through expert fire support shooting down enemy aircraft, destroying an armoured train, taking out enemy coastal batteries and searchlight installations, destroying eight concreted fortifications and gun positions, and causing serious damage to an enemy landing craft.
64 of the Metel‘s crew were awarded with orders and medals.  Her Captain was conferred with the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”.
The river armoured craft BKA-75 is the next stamp in the set.  She was built at Zelenodolsk and completed in December 1941.
The particulars of the BKA-75 are:
Displacement: 49.75 standard tons, 52.16 tons full load, dim. 25.3 x 4.04 x 0.87m (draught); Powered by engines of 1,800 hp, maximum speed 37.4 km/h, economical speed 23 km/h; Range up to 680 km.
Armament 2 – 76.2mm guns; 2 – 12.7 and 2 – 7.62mm MG. The BKA-75 had a crew 17.
Through out WWII BKA-75 served along side Russian army units and participated in the defence of Stalingrad and worked on the Volga river until September 1943 when she was loaded on a rail car and transported to the Azov Sea.  After suffering serious damage and repairs she joined the Danube Flotilla where she took part in the liberation of: Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria.  She also particpated in the liberation of Belgrade.
The last stamp in this set displays the gunboat Usyskin.  Orinally built as a paddle steamer tug for service on rivers, she was converted to a gun boat in July 1941.
The Usyskin‘s particulars are:
Displacement 400 tons, dim. 56.4 x 17.1 x 1.2m;
One 480 hp steam engine , speed 8.5 knots.
Armament: 2 – 45mm guns; 1 – 7.62mm MG.
The Usyskin participated in the defence of Stalingrad as a unit in the Volga River Flotilla.  In February of 1943, she received the Order of the Red Banner.
In April of 1943, the Usyskin was severely damaged as a result of a mine.  In July 1943, she was converted back to a tug.

Allied Nations Day

Originally published December 29, 2015.

On the 30th of May 1944, according to Scott, Russia issued a set of two stamps to commemorate the “Day of Nations United Against Germany” which was June 14, 1944.


The stamps which are visually appealing feature the flags of the  US, Russia and Great Britain.  The two values issued were 60 kopecks and 3 roubles.

What intrigues me about the set is that if we use the day of issue from the Scott Catalogue Russia was telegraphing the imminent invasion by the allies.  The date of issue of these stamps is only 7 days before the D-Day invasion that Canada, Britain and the US executed on the 6th of June.

In researching this issue It is interesting to find that Russian history sees the British, Canadian and US effort on D-Day as only a small contributing factor the German defeat of World War II.  The majority of Russians have been taught and believe that they could have done it without the rest of the Allies.

None the less I think these are a nice set of stamps issued to celebrate the worlds major powers uniting to defeat the NAZI reign of terror.

Reuters Who won the War Russians take a different view on D-Day http://www.reuters.com/article/us-dday-anniversary-russians-idUSKBN0EG20820140605

First Polar Flight

Originally published March 5, 2014.

On April 10, 1938, the USSR issued a set of 4 stamps to commemorate the first transpolar flight that was completed between the 18th and 20th of June 1937. The stamps issued in 10k, 20k, 40k and 50k denominations the set all has the same design featuring the 3 aviators who flew on the flight with a map and the route taken.

The flight departed Moscow’s Shchelkovo airport at dawn on the 20th of June in an ANT-25 monoplane with pilot Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baidukov as co-pilot and Alexander Belyakov as navigator. The trio were all experienced cold weather flyers who were decorated pilots for their flying in the polar regions of the Soviet Union in the ANT-25.

For the first 24 hours of the flight, very few people were aware of the flight due to security and the paranoia that existed in the USSR at the time. Once word got out however the world was enthralled and everyone was looking to get more information on how the flight was progressing.

The first 24 hours of the flight has been described as routine. The rest of the flight, however, tested the skill and ability of the experienced crew. As the plane came nearer to the North Pole it’s magnetic compass became useless and the crew had to navigate by dead reckoning. The weather was not cooperating with them either. The strong headwinds and storms slowed the flights progress increased the fuel consumption. The dangerous icing led to the freezing of most of the liquids on the plane, including the engine coolant. Through the crew’s ingenuity, they used their stored urine to solve this problem.

After crossing the North Pole, the crew flew over Canada’s north using dead reckoning as their method of navigation. Eventually, a Canadian signal Corps post in the North West Territories heard the aircraft and contact was made. Based on information from the crew the advised that they would have to put down between Seattle, Washington and Oakland, California depending on the fuel that they had. To avoid further heavy storms they turned the plane west to continue their journey over the Canadian Rockies and down the Pacific coast.

Just over Eugene, Oregon the ANT-25 developed a problem with its fuel pump and the crew decided to land in Portland. After descending through the clouds and rain Chkalov saw large numbers of spectators waiting for them to land. Fearing that the crowds would damage the plane similar to what happened to Lindhberg when he arrived in Paris, the pilot decided to land at the military airfield across the river in Vancouver, Washington. Upon landing in Vancouver it was discovered they had 11 gallons of fuel left after travelling 5,288 miles in 63 hours and 16 minutes.


The October Revolution

Originally published January 19, 2013.

Here is a brief exhibit I put together for a competition at Stamp Bears, which is one of the best philatelic forums out there.  You can visit the exhibit on the site by clicking here:  http://www.stampbears.proboards.com/thread/362/entry-2nd-exhibit-old-site.

It is not an exhaustive display of all the stamps that relate to the revolution but was thrown together to show some of the issues from the USSR extolling the virtues of the Russian Revolution.  Below are the 5 pages, 4 display plus one cover.  The intent of these competitions is to demonstrate history through stamps.

I hope you enjoy the exhibit and please leave your comments letting me know what you think.  And please visit and join Stamp Bears, they can be found at http://www.stampbears.net.

Russian Fishing Ships

Originally published March 16, 2012.

Issued on February 28, 1967, was a set of 5 stamps depicting various ships from the Soviet fishing fleet along with various type of sea life.  All are denominated 6 rubles and are perforated 12 x 11½.  The stamps were printed by lithography.

This is one of my favourite sets of stamps.  I like the image of the various fishing vessels with a depiction of the fish that they fish for.

The top stamp depicts a trawler/factory ship.  On these ships, the catch is processed on board.  The second stamp depicts a refrigeration ship.  Where the catch would be stored but processed to the extent that a factory ship is capable.  The third stamp in the set shows us a crab canning ship.  This type of ship is similar to the factory ship but is specific to processing and canning a crab catch.  The fourth ship is a trawler.  On these ships, the catch is preserved but processed at either a factory onshore or transferred to a factory ship.  The last stamp in the set depicts a Black Sea seiner.  A seiner is a ship that uses a seine (a net with weights on one end floats an the other).

As of 2002, the Russian fishing fleet was composed of 2,500 fishing vessels, 366 transport and 46 factory ships with a length overall greater than 24 metres (78′ 9″).  As of 2005, there were an additional 2,491 fishing vessels smaller than this.  The fleet is quite old and not equipped to modern standards in terms of fishing and safety.

Scott 2009 Catalogue