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Europe/Other : Ukraine Commemorates WW2

 

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Guthrum
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20 Sep 2015
06:17:12am
At the Autumn Stampex last week one dealer had a whole slew of the latest WW2 commemoratives from all over the world, of which naturally there are rather a lot this year. Some of these were more impressive than others: one certainly gets the feeling that Russia, for example, has stopped bothering with quality in its five-yearly reminders to its population as to who actually won the damn thing; its latest offerings are garish, amateur efforts it took a lot of teeth-gritting to spend money on.

My favourites, though, were these from just over the (rather porous) border:

Image Not Found Image Not Found

The first, depicting the liberation of Kiev in 1943, shows what looks like a woodcut, by the artist Georgiy Malakov. What do you think of that flag?

The second commemorates the "Liberation of Ukraine from the Nazi invader" and includes what I guess is a well-known quotation, but which Google Translate garbles into: "There are people I force anyone whose truth was not yet conquered. That trouble me that plague mowed - a force again blossomed." (It's a pity I have not got a bit closer with these words, which might/might not comment on the current relationship between Russia and Ukraine.)

Nor does it identify the dramatic image on the tab. I like this stamp, but there remains a lot to find out, both linguistically and artistically!
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sheepshanks
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20 Sep 2015
08:38:06pm
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Well the first one is not too bad but the others look like they got the kindergarten to dip their hands and feet in paint and swim around on the paper. If this is modern design, bring back the Noddy books illustrators, at least the images were easily recognised for what they were intended to represent.

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Guthrum
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21 Sep 2015
05:08:13am
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

My first impression (of the lower stamp) was that, so far from being a 'modern design', it harkened back at least 90 years to a style of art popular in the early 20th century. Those black and red triangles on the tab seem to reference Lissitzky's iconic "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge" from 1919 (below left),

Image Not Found Image Not Found Image Not Found

and you even get the canted print on the stamp that was a hallmark of Soviet constructivism (above centre, a film poster from 1926), much used ever since as a shorthand image for Russian design (see, for example, the credit titles on the film Enemy at the Gates, 2001, above right).

Also in the latter image is the suggestion of the steel girders of bombed-out buildings, which you can also see on the tab behind the upraised fist of defiance. That seems easily recognisable to me; the smashed swastika on the stamp itself is perhaps harder to discern, though pierced with yet another wedge of "a force again blossomed".

Victor, you seem to take a Stalinist view of art ("easily recognisable for what they were intended to represent") which, of course, prevailed for the decades of Socialist Realism. The bright colours of the Noddy illustrations would have doubtless appealed, but do the cartoonish images adhere to a properly socialist vision of a brighter future? A spell for you in one of our re-education camps, comrade! Winking

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sheepshanks
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21 Sep 2015
07:29:44am
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Thanks Guthrum for pointing out what they are meant (possibly) to represent but that proves my point, which is that it should be clear what is being displayed and not needing an interpreter.
Still do not see girders but if that is a hand of defiance is the other a hand of friendship that is not being accepted?
Each to their own I guess but they would not find a place in any collection of mine.
As far as the posters go if they need explaining then they are ineffective as a means of communication.
The men in black or should that be red are here now for my trip to outer Siberia, haven't had a holiday in years. Pass the Vodka please.

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Guthrum
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21 Sep 2015
08:15:23am
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

I think we will have to assume that the message behind these images is clearer to Ukrainians than it may be to Canadians or Brits! I know little of Canadian art or design but guess it may be more representational than what was fashionable in Kiev or Moscow in the 1920s.

Meanwhile, further to my original post, it seems that Malakov's image is a lino-cut rather than a woodcut. The inspirational verse quoted in the golden wedge in the second stamp has been literally translated for me by my ever helpful friend Florian: my own literary version is as follows -

I am a people whose power from the Truth
Has yet to be conquered by men.
Whatever the troubles tormenting me,
Whatever the sickness that scythed me down! –
The power will blossom again
.

It is by Pavlo Tychyna (1891-1967), a well-known Ukrainian poet whose enthusiastic support for Stalinist communism disappointed some of his followers.

As always, it is difficult to assess whether Ukrainians were supportive, equivocal or downright contemptuous of their Soviet masters - all three, perhaps, depending on time, place and circumstance.

They obviously don't convince sheepshanks - but do these stamps have any other admirers?

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nl1947

21 Sep 2015
09:10:20am
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Regardless of what art style or memories the last stamps bring to mind and even if they have some meaning in Ukraine, they are quite "unusual" and not what I perceive as stamps.

Perhaps as posters they would have adorned the walls of a beat generation hangout quite nicely.

Edited: "unusual" was just to soften the blow - they are UGLY and although they may have some historical significance, as stamps I can in no way appreciate them.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

21 Sep 2015
10:49:23am
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

what is interesting to me is not the style of the art, but the fact that Ukraine, whose western stretches are now aligned with the west, celebrated the Soviet liberation of Kiev. Many will remember the bulk of the Ukrainians welcoming the Wehrmacht, only to be brutally rebuffed; but their current allegiance would seem to put them more in tune with members of NATO than with their former partners, the Russians, who seem to be intent on liberating much of Ukraine for a second time in 50 years.

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Guthrum
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21 Sep 2015
11:12:20am
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

"...they are quite "unusual" and not what I perceive as stamps."



Well, the left hand image is a tab rather than a stamp. The right hand one has all the appearance of a stamp to me: country name, value, date of issue, reason for issue and even the Ukrainian logo. I don't see how it cannot be perceived as a stamp. Am I missing something here, Nelson?

The beat generation is just before my time, but the tab would have made an excellent poster for my student digs in the late 1960s! Cool

@amsd: I must check up on how the Russia/Ukraine relationship was faring back in 2013 when the Kiev stamp was issued - I'm under the vague impression it got much worse more recently than that. Interesting thought, though.

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Guthrum
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21 Sep 2015
01:34:20pm
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

"Edited: "unusual" was just to soften the blow - they are UGLY & not stamps I can in any way appreciate."



There's no need to soften any blow, Nelson - although why you would want to deliver one in the first place I do not know. It is indeed an unusual way to go about discussions of stamps! To clarify: the reason I include them in my collection is that they concern commemoration of World War Two, which is my chosen topic; I could show you some dreadful offerings over the years which I have bought simply because they are what the relevant country feels is an appropriate way of commemorating, or commenting on, their past.

So really I am appreciating them more for what they tell me than for personal aesthetic reasons. There exists a 1947 Albanian MS commemorating a war episode that is so crudely drawn (and so expensive) that I won't buy it - I'm sorry that my Ukrainian stamps come under the same heading for you.

David - the liberation of Kiev was November 1943, so the stamp marking its 70th anniversary would have been in preparation for some weeks or months (?) prior to November 2013, which is itself a couple of weeks before the current conflict is deemed to have begun. Thus it's possible that my two stamps were conceived either side of the start of the present troubles, which would make the second one, ostensibly commemorating the defeat of fascism, rather more interesting politically than the first.

But only possible: we seldom know when a stamp issue was initially mooted, rather than when it was completed and put into circulation. It's always a matter for speculation, but that tab of Ukrainian defiance (which Victor and Nelson find so unappealing) might just have been added as a tacit update to the events of 1944.
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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

21 Sep 2015
04:20:46pm
re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Ian, you're right, the government in power in 2013 was pro-Russian. And that was before the troubles in Crimea and, later, eastern Ukraine.

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Author/Postings
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Guthrum

20 Sep 2015
06:17:12am

At the Autumn Stampex last week one dealer had a whole slew of the latest WW2 commemoratives from all over the world, of which naturally there are rather a lot this year. Some of these were more impressive than others: one certainly gets the feeling that Russia, for example, has stopped bothering with quality in its five-yearly reminders to its population as to who actually won the damn thing; its latest offerings are garish, amateur efforts it took a lot of teeth-gritting to spend money on.

My favourites, though, were these from just over the (rather porous) border:

Image Not Found Image Not Found

The first, depicting the liberation of Kiev in 1943, shows what looks like a woodcut, by the artist Georgiy Malakov. What do you think of that flag?

The second commemorates the "Liberation of Ukraine from the Nazi invader" and includes what I guess is a well-known quotation, but which Google Translate garbles into: "There are people I force anyone whose truth was not yet conquered. That trouble me that plague mowed - a force again blossomed." (It's a pity I have not got a bit closer with these words, which might/might not comment on the current relationship between Russia and Ukraine.)

Nor does it identify the dramatic image on the tab. I like this stamp, but there remains a lot to find out, both linguistically and artistically!

Like
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this post
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sheepshanks

20 Sep 2015
08:38:06pm

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Well the first one is not too bad but the others look like they got the kindergarten to dip their hands and feet in paint and swim around on the paper. If this is modern design, bring back the Noddy books illustrators, at least the images were easily recognised for what they were intended to represent.

Like
Login to Like
this post
Members Picture
Guthrum

21 Sep 2015
05:08:13am

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

My first impression (of the lower stamp) was that, so far from being a 'modern design', it harkened back at least 90 years to a style of art popular in the early 20th century. Those black and red triangles on the tab seem to reference Lissitzky's iconic "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge" from 1919 (below left),

Image Not Found Image Not Found Image Not Found

and you even get the canted print on the stamp that was a hallmark of Soviet constructivism (above centre, a film poster from 1926), much used ever since as a shorthand image for Russian design (see, for example, the credit titles on the film Enemy at the Gates, 2001, above right).

Also in the latter image is the suggestion of the steel girders of bombed-out buildings, which you can also see on the tab behind the upraised fist of defiance. That seems easily recognisable to me; the smashed swastika on the stamp itself is perhaps harder to discern, though pierced with yet another wedge of "a force again blossomed".

Victor, you seem to take a Stalinist view of art ("easily recognisable for what they were intended to represent") which, of course, prevailed for the decades of Socialist Realism. The bright colours of the Noddy illustrations would have doubtless appealed, but do the cartoonish images adhere to a properly socialist vision of a brighter future? A spell for you in one of our re-education camps, comrade! Winking

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sheepshanks

21 Sep 2015
07:29:44am

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Thanks Guthrum for pointing out what they are meant (possibly) to represent but that proves my point, which is that it should be clear what is being displayed and not needing an interpreter.
Still do not see girders but if that is a hand of defiance is the other a hand of friendship that is not being accepted?
Each to their own I guess but they would not find a place in any collection of mine.
As far as the posters go if they need explaining then they are ineffective as a means of communication.
The men in black or should that be red are here now for my trip to outer Siberia, haven't had a holiday in years. Pass the Vodka please.

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Guthrum

21 Sep 2015
08:15:23am

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

I think we will have to assume that the message behind these images is clearer to Ukrainians than it may be to Canadians or Brits! I know little of Canadian art or design but guess it may be more representational than what was fashionable in Kiev or Moscow in the 1920s.

Meanwhile, further to my original post, it seems that Malakov's image is a lino-cut rather than a woodcut. The inspirational verse quoted in the golden wedge in the second stamp has been literally translated for me by my ever helpful friend Florian: my own literary version is as follows -

I am a people whose power from the Truth
Has yet to be conquered by men.
Whatever the troubles tormenting me,
Whatever the sickness that scythed me down! –
The power will blossom again
.

It is by Pavlo Tychyna (1891-1967), a well-known Ukrainian poet whose enthusiastic support for Stalinist communism disappointed some of his followers.

As always, it is difficult to assess whether Ukrainians were supportive, equivocal or downright contemptuous of their Soviet masters - all three, perhaps, depending on time, place and circumstance.

They obviously don't convince sheepshanks - but do these stamps have any other admirers?

Like
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this post
nl1947

21 Sep 2015
09:10:20am

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Regardless of what art style or memories the last stamps bring to mind and even if they have some meaning in Ukraine, they are quite "unusual" and not what I perceive as stamps.

Perhaps as posters they would have adorned the walls of a beat generation hangout quite nicely.

Edited: "unusual" was just to soften the blow - they are UGLY and although they may have some historical significance, as stamps I can in no way appreciate them.

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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
21 Sep 2015
10:49:23am

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

what is interesting to me is not the style of the art, but the fact that Ukraine, whose western stretches are now aligned with the west, celebrated the Soviet liberation of Kiev. Many will remember the bulk of the Ukrainians welcoming the Wehrmacht, only to be brutally rebuffed; but their current allegiance would seem to put them more in tune with members of NATO than with their former partners, the Russians, who seem to be intent on liberating much of Ukraine for a second time in 50 years.

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"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

juicyheads.com/link. ...
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Guthrum

21 Sep 2015
11:12:20am

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

"...they are quite "unusual" and not what I perceive as stamps."



Well, the left hand image is a tab rather than a stamp. The right hand one has all the appearance of a stamp to me: country name, value, date of issue, reason for issue and even the Ukrainian logo. I don't see how it cannot be perceived as a stamp. Am I missing something here, Nelson?

The beat generation is just before my time, but the tab would have made an excellent poster for my student digs in the late 1960s! Cool

@amsd: I must check up on how the Russia/Ukraine relationship was faring back in 2013 when the Kiev stamp was issued - I'm under the vague impression it got much worse more recently than that. Interesting thought, though.

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Guthrum

21 Sep 2015
01:34:20pm

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

"Edited: "unusual" was just to soften the blow - they are UGLY & not stamps I can in any way appreciate."



There's no need to soften any blow, Nelson - although why you would want to deliver one in the first place I do not know. It is indeed an unusual way to go about discussions of stamps! To clarify: the reason I include them in my collection is that they concern commemoration of World War Two, which is my chosen topic; I could show you some dreadful offerings over the years which I have bought simply because they are what the relevant country feels is an appropriate way of commemorating, or commenting on, their past.

So really I am appreciating them more for what they tell me than for personal aesthetic reasons. There exists a 1947 Albanian MS commemorating a war episode that is so crudely drawn (and so expensive) that I won't buy it - I'm sorry that my Ukrainian stamps come under the same heading for you.

David - the liberation of Kiev was November 1943, so the stamp marking its 70th anniversary would have been in preparation for some weeks or months (?) prior to November 2013, which is itself a couple of weeks before the current conflict is deemed to have begun. Thus it's possible that my two stamps were conceived either side of the start of the present troubles, which would make the second one, ostensibly commemorating the defeat of fascism, rather more interesting politically than the first.

But only possible: we seldom know when a stamp issue was initially mooted, rather than when it was completed and put into circulation. It's always a matter for speculation, but that tab of Ukrainian defiance (which Victor and Nelson find so unappealing) might just have been added as a tacit update to the events of 1944.
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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
21 Sep 2015
04:20:46pm

re: Ukraine Commemorates WW2

Ian, you're right, the government in power in 2013 was pro-Russian. And that was before the troubles in Crimea and, later, eastern Ukraine.

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"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

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