March 8, 2017

0191, 2975 RUSSIA - The map and the flag of the country

0191 Russia map and flag (1)

Posted on 01.05.2012, 08.03.2017
After it crushed  the army of the Golden Horde in the battle of Kulikovo in 1380, Grand Duchy of Moskow needed only 150 years to finally push aside the Tartar yoke and to gather under his leadership, by persuasion or with the sword, all the Russian provinces. Afterwards, Ivan the Terrible, the first Tsar, conquered Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Sibir, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state. In the 17th century it continued its territorial growth, with the Cossacks as spearhead, enclosing part of the Ukraine and Eastern Siberia, until the Pacific coast.

2975 Russia map and flag (2)

Peter the Great proclaimed Russia empire in 1721, and achieved the much desired "Window on the West" on the Baltic, assuring also outlet to the Black Sea and to the Caspian Sea. After the fall of Constantinople (1453), Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire, as the Holy Roman Empire was considered the continuation of the Western Roman Empire. The Tsars coveted Constantinople, on which they called it Tsargrad, but the Ottoman Empire managed to impede Russian expansion in the Balkans over the next two centuries, ceding instead an important part of the northern shore of the Black Sea.

The partitions of Poland have brought to Catherine the Great (r. 1762-1796) most of the territories of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, pushing the imperial frontier into Central Europe. She also conquered the Crimean Khanate and important parts of Transcaucasia, and Alexander I (r. 1801-1825) annexed Finland and eastern Moldova. Russians colonized also Alaska, which they sold it in 1867 to United States. During the reign of Alexander I, Russia peaked its territorial expansion, reaching about 23,000,000 km2 (15.31% of world's land area). Until then, only the Mongols conquered a larger territory, and since then only the British, with their empire on which the sun never sets, managed to overcome it.

WWI and the October Revolution have caused to Russia important territorial losses, largely recovered by Soviet Union until 1940. After its dissolution in 1991, the Russian Federation became an independent country, but also quite a lot former republics have became independent. In nowadays Russia has 17,075,400 km2 (is the largest country of the world) and a population of 143,030,106 (the 9th most populated country of the world - 2017), from which 81% are Russians. In conclusion, if every third inhabitant of the planet is chinese or Indian, each eighth acre of land is Russian. The two widest separated points in Russia are about 8,000 km apart along a geodesic line (from the boundary with Poland to the Kuril Islands).

About 77% of the population live in European Russia. Russia's capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other major urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. The Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. Russia is a great power and has been characterised as a potential superpower.

On the map depicted in the postcard 0191 appear the most important cities, and a few images considered as representative for Russia: an icebreaker near to Arkhangelsk, Church of the Transfiguration on Kizhi Pogost, Palace Bridge from Saint Petersburg, Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moskow, the statue Motherland Calls in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), Kul Sharif Mosque in Kazan, the Circus and TV Tower in Yekaterinburg, a pumpjack from Khanty-Mansiysk, Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Siberian taiga, a train (which suggests probably Trans-Siberian Railway), a brown bear (a widespread symbol for Russia), a Siberian tiger, the volcanoes of Kamchatka, a red king crab, and a reindeer and a yaranga

About the stamps
On the postcard 0191
The first stamp is part of the series Safe Conduct of Children on the Roads, issued on August 5, 2004, and containing 5 stamps with the same value (4.00 RUB).
• Use pedestrian crossing!
• Cross the street to green traffic light! multicolor
• Study the road traffic rules! multicolor
• Don't play on the road! multicolor
• Use safety belts! - It's on the postcard 0191

The next two stamps are a Russian-Iranian joint issue, designed by P. Zhilichkin. Named Let's preserve the nature of the Caspian Sea and issued on September 9, 2003, it contain two stamp with the same denomination (2.50 RUB):
Caspian seal / Phoca caspica - It's on the postcard 0191
Beluga / Huso huso - It's on the postcard 0191

The third stamp belongs to a set of 4 stamps, depicting Pedestrian Bridges, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2975
The first stamp, depicting strawberry, is part of the series Gifts of Nature, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of the set of the series The contemporary art of Russia, issued on June 30, 2012, about which I wrote here. The third stamp is part of the set of the series The contemporary art of Russia, issued on December 12, 2014, about which I wrote here.

Sender 0191: Marina / Laktrissa (direct swap)
Sent from Moskow (Moskow / Russia), on 29.02.2012
Photo: Markku Roisko 
Sender 2975: Natalya / orechek_nat (postcrossing) RU-5437104
Sent from Beryozovsky (Sverdlovsk Oblast / Russia), on 08.02.2017

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