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Stamps issued: 1991-PRESENT
For period 1920-1991 see Russia, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic

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5000kb City of Uzhhorod 1100th Anniversary single

A republic in eastern Europe, located between Russia and the northern coast of the Black Sea. Ukraine was the heartland of medieval Russia and the center of the Kyivan Rus state. Kyiv dominated much of the territory of European Russia during the 9th-13th centuries, and it was through Kyiv that Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Cyrillic alphabet came to Russia. The 13th century Mongol invasion destroyed Kyivan power, and for the next 400 years the country was dominated by Poland in the north and west and by the Tatar Khanate of the Crimea in the south. In 1654, Ukraine requested protection from Muscovy, and Russian conquest soon followed. During World War I, Ukraine was occupied by Germany, and in January 1918 an independent republic was declared. The local postmaster overprinted existing stocks of Russian stamps with the Ukrainian national emblem, the trident, creating hundreds of different stamps.

During the Russian Civil War, Ukraine was the battleground of both Red and White armies, as well as Poland and the Allies. In 1920 it was reconstituted as a Soviet republic. Stamps were used by a variety of regimes in the region. Ukraine was again occupied during World War II, and the Hitler Head German definitive set, overprinted "Ukraine," was used. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine again became independent. Independence was declared August 24, 1991, and in December became a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Since regaining independence, Ukraine has faced hyperinflation and wrenching economic changes, as it attempts to liberalize its economy. It has disposed of its nuclear arsenal and reestablished its control over the Crimea, which had been transferred to Russian administration in 1954 and had become locally autonomous with the breakup of the Soviet Union. During the first year or two of Ukrainian independence, large numbers of overprints on Russian stamps appeared on the market, identified as locals. Patterned after the 1918 Trident overprints, most of these modern creations are bogus, created solely for sale to stamp collectors.

Narrative by Linn's Stamp News

Edited February 2023:
This article was originally published with the soviet era spelling of the city of Kyiv. Officially, the spelling of “Kyiv” replaced “Kiev” in 1991, when Ukraine declared its independence and issued guidance for transliterating place names from Ukrainian to English.

Igor Smelyansky headshot

National Postal Museum Director Elliot Gruber interviews Igor Smelyansky, Director General, Ukrposhta, Ukraine. The second part of the video features Director of Collections Rebecca Ben-Atar speaking with Igor Smelyansky about objects in the museum’s collection.

Precedent Countries:

Stamps issued: 1918-1920

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40s Trident single
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40hr surcharge and overprint on 40s stamp of Ukraine single

Stamps issued: 1918-1919

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10s Surcharge and overprint on stamp of Austria single

A briefly independent state in central Europe. Formed in October 1918 from the Austro-Hungarian territories of central and eastern Galicia and Bukovina in an attempt to unite the region with the Ukraine. In November 1918, Romania occupied Bukovina, and in January 1919, the balance of the Western Ukraine united with the Ukrainian National Republic. In July 1919, the area was occupied by Poland, which, in 1939, lost it to the Soviet Union.

Narrative by Linn's Stamp News

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