Here is an overview of the three periods.

  1. Empire of all the Russia's.
    • Tsar Alexander II
      from 18 February (= 2 March) 1855 till 1 (= 13) March 1881.
      The date of issue are according to local computation based on the Julian or Gregorian Calendar in use. In the 19th century the Julian Calendar was twelve days behind the Gregorian Calendar. After 1900 the difference was thirteen days. In Russia the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1918, January 31 being followed by February 14.
    • Tsar Alexander III
      from 1 ( = 13) March 1881 till 20 October ( = 1 November) 1894.
    • Tsar Nicholas II
      from 20 October ( = 1 November) 1894 till 2 ( = 15) March 1917.
    • Provisional government
      from 2 ( = 15 March) 1917 till 25 October ( = 7 November) 1917.
  2. R.S.F.S.R.
    Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic.
    • From 25 October ( = 7 November) 1917 till 5 July 1923
      On 7 November (new style) 1917, the Bolshevik party under V. I. Lenin seized power in Petrograd from the Provisional Government.
      Elections to a constituent assembly on 25 November (new style) showed that they were still a minority, ruling with the support of the armed forces. Reaction against their collectivist reorganization of society led to the Civil War, from early December 1917 to 15 November 1920, ending in the defeat of the anti - Bolshevists.
      During the years 1918-22 the postal service was disorganized by revolution and civil war. Until 1921 the Soviets had no stamps of their own and in the meanwhile used Tsarist stamps of the Imperial Arms type, those of the short-lived Kerensky Govt., and also fiscals. Matters were further complicated by the rapid depreciation of the currency and in March 1920 the Arms types, 1 to 20 k., were authorized for sale at one hundred times face value. Even after the Soviet issues appeared stocks of Arms type stamps were used up and in April 1922 stamps of that series were authorized for sale at one million times face for the kopek values and ten thousand times for the rouble values. There was no official surcharge to indicate these changes, but as early as 1919 different municipalities began surcharging on their own initiative by means of handstamp and occasionally manuscript. The surcharge usually consisted of the word "rouble" abbreviated to "PYb" or "P" and new figure of value.
      Most of these stamps are very scarce. So far about 85 different offices of origin have been identified, and some of these employed two or three different types of surcharge.
  3. U.S.S.R.
    Union of Soviet Socialists Republic
    • From 6 July 1923
      The U.S.S.R. as first constituted consisted of the R.S.F.S.R., the Soviet Socialist Republics (S.S.R.) of Ukraine and Belorussia and the Transcaucasian Federation. In October 1924 the Uzbek and Turkmen S.S R.s and in December 1929 the Tajik Autonomous S.S.R. were declared constituent republics.
      A new constitution was adopted on 5 December 1936, by which the Transcaucasian Republic was split into the constituent republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; the Kazakh and Kirghiz autonomous republics of the R.S.F.S.R. also became constituent republics of the U.S.S.R. The Union thus at that point consisted of eleven republics.
      In 1940 a further five republics were added: Karelo-Finnish (consisting of the Karelian A.S.S.R. and territory ceded by Finland), Moldavian (consisting of Moldavian A.S.S.R. and parts of Bessarabia ceded by Rumania) and the former independent states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
      In 1956 the Karelo-Finnish Republic became an autonomous republic within the R.S.F.S.R. reducing the constituent republics of the U.S.S.R. to 15.


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Jan Langenberg

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