We are back with some more postage stamps from the Soviet Union. The year is still 1983 (and at the rate I work, will be for a while.) Some stamps will be more interesting that others, some I will do in large groups just to get them out, others may be here by themselves. The Savage has four stamps for you to read about today.
Rembrandt’s work is often featured in commemoration on Soviet postage. Why? Was he Russian? No, he was Dutch, and they so much as tell you so on this plate. The reason for so much Rembrandt is told to you on this plate as well, in short. Catherine the Great purchased a good few of them–twenty-three actually–and they live in the Hermitage museum to this day.
It was issued on 1983/11/10 (YMD) and comes individually numbered. The top of the plate reads “State Hermitage Musuem: Leningrad.” The top of the stamps also says “State Hermitage.” The bottom of the gold border on the stamp says Rembrandt, and the tiny print below that is the name of the actual piece. The middle of the plate reads (roughly) “An assembly paintings situated in The Hermitage by Rembrandt, 1606-1669, the greatest Dutch artist of the 17th Century.” Below this is the seal of The Hermitage.
Instituted in 1923, Aeroflot was the state airline of the Soviet Union, and today is the flag carrier of the Russian Federation and their largest airline. The airliner featured is an Ilyushin-86, introduced in 1980 and retired from civilian service in 2011. The Russian Air Force may still use a couple. There were 106 of them produced and they were the first Soviet wide body, and the second four engine wide body in the world. The plane was reliable, but the engines, in true Soviet fashion, came off the assembly line outdated by twenty years when they were new. Still this model never saw a fatal incident.
The bottom of the commemorative plate says “The largest airline in the world.” Below that says “60 years.”
A lesson came with that translation. A lesson about Russian. The three words came out by my hand as a name, airlines, and peace. I typed them into translation software individually and they each came out as I had translated them. On a whim I typed the same three words, no more no less, in as a whole phrase, and it came out “the largest airline in the world.” I have learned not only a new trick, but a lesson that some things will not be easy, and I may need a Russian…
Now, let’s get into the really good stuff!
The 113th Anniversary of the birth of V.I. Lenin
This kind of thing is in now way special. I have seen all the years, but it is not far fetched to think that the only years there were not stamps celebrating his birth were 1922-24, the years he was alive and that they had stamps, and the year he died. However, what makes this one interesting, in my opinion, is the sketch on the bottom right of the plate. It has Trotsky. Trotsky! Trotsky was a no-go. Stalin hated this guy, had him assassinated even. Animal Farm tells the tale. There were even some assassinations arranged in house of people falling out of favor, and their murders were blamed on others as being members of supposed “Trotskyist Plots” against the state. This was the start of the purges! Color me red with surprise at finding Trotsky on a Lenin stamp less than thirty years after Khrushchev denounced the boss. The Rest shows Lenin with peasants, and with a soldier. The bottom left sketch I am unsure about. The Stamp itself is not bad either. I feel it shows Lenin the revolutionary, speaking to a crowd. Note the banners on the top and bottom right, and Lenin’s cap crushed in his hand.
Lastly, a stamp to commemorate World Communication Year.
Aside from Leon making an appearance, this is my favorite of the day. In 1981 the U.N. decreed that 1983 was to be World Communications Year, a year to develop communication infrastructure. They were not simply talking about improving phone lines, what they were describing was globalization.
Globalization was a term that came into use in the 70s, and is embodied, I feel, by the 1980s. World Communications Year was supposed to show that in this new age of technology and progress no person (in a U.N. member state) was not to be disconnected from his local, state, and global community. To me this is globalization. It calls forth images of movies like Jumping Jack Flash in which Whoopie Goldberg works on a computer in a bank, effecting transactions in seconds between far away nations. It is the sattelites in the sky, the computer, world news services, it is again, the bank seen in Ghost featuring ultra modern money laundering via the wire. It was the cell phone and finally some things that we today call collectively, the internet. That’s what 1983 was supposed to be about, to me that was what the 80s represented, and it is what the symbols on this stamp show. I am not unsure what to make of the horn surrounding the globe in the image, and I do love how they highlighted their nation on the globe (The U.S. would have done the same.) I feel the idea of this stamp, the year, globalization, a good bit of the Cold War, and the 80s can be summed up by the largest symbol on the stamp, the radio waves which emminate from the stamp and onto the plate.
Go watch and 80s movie and hunt some themes. Better yet, do it while enjoying your stamps.