Sunday, August 09, 2009

The stamp, mirror of the peoples?

The postage stamp has often been described as a sign of a State's sovereignty.

Numerous new States issued stamps even if the government was still provisional, that a war was still going on and that no postal system was functioning. From Czechoslovakia in 1918 to the three postal operators of civil war devasted Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Many independantist movements used perforated labels to promote themselves: from the Brittany porte-timbres to the Scottish labels (for the latter, see Gibbons Stamp Monthly dated January 2009).

The Weapons of Victory, commemorative stamp for the end of World War 2.

But postage stamps are useful to solid existing States too. Caucasian tensions reappear in the Western medias with the tumultuous relations between Georgia and the Federation of Russia, one year after the abkhazian and ossetian-linked conflicts, in the middle of the Olympic Games (an event that may have caused the mediatic and political peace intervention in the middle of sleeping August).

Russian side, the 2009 philatelic program registered to the WADP Numebring System clearly shows the color: national pride through military fact:
- cities famous for their soldiers and military glories... far from the touristic stamps in the rest of the world ;
- victory at the battle of Poltava in 1709 ;
- anniversary of the Central Navy Museum (understand the War Navy Museum of Saint Petersburg) ;
- a history of the Cossacks ;
- the 1945 Victory through the weapons used by the Red Army ;
- birthday of military pilots, including Yuri Gagarin.

The message goes to foreigners too with a reminder of fifty years of a nuclear navy.

But Russia welcomed peoples: a stamp for the four hundreds years since Kalmyks stayed in the Empire. The name of these Mongol migrants stand for "the ones who stayed". Nowadays, the Republic of Kalmykia is located not far from the Caucasus mountains.

Will diplomacy avoid new post-USSR conflicts? Lots of efforts would be needed: issued 18 July, a stamp honoring Andrei Gromyko, sovietic diplomat, minister of Foreign Affairs during the thirty most icy years of the Cold War, known as Mister Niet, one of the most conservative communists in the 1980s...

No comments: