LITHUANIA : SOVIET PERIOD
VILNIUS : STATUES.....AND MORE
After the war in Iraq we saw the pulling down of the statues of Saddam Hussein. Along with a change of power not an unusual picture: people will wipe out in the memory the old authorities. This also happened in the Baltic countries with the most recent great change of power, the recovered independence. On postal attioneries and other philatelic material from the Soviet period we meet many statues and monuments. A lot of these 'heroes' and old authorities are now disappeared from the city scene of the Baltic towns.
Statue of general Chernyakhovsky in Vilnius Postal stationery, issued: 20-5-1958 (20/V-58)
Original print size of this image: 16,188 x 11,514 cm (is something more as the postal item)
This picture and all pictures below on this page, if not mentioned otherwise: scanned about 300 dpi. Then set right and cut out - noted the actual print size-, resized 25 % of this image and saved as jpg.
General Chernyakhovsky, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, was Ukrainian by birth and the youngest front-general of the Red Army. By suggestion of marshal Zhukov he became commander of the 3th Byelorussian Front ans so he played a role in the liberation of Minsk, Vilnius and Kaunas. He fell in battle on 18 february 1945.
Yet another postal stationery,
Original print size of this image: 16,315 x 11,540 cm (is something more as the postal item)
In the Soviet Union also many postcards were
issued as postal stationeries, so with imprinted stamp.
Original print size of this image: 10,710 x 15,078 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Pro-soviet antagonists of the independence and war veterans assembled themselves in June 1991 at the monument of war hero general Chernyakhovsky in Vilnius. The square with the monument in the centre was called original also 'Chernyakhovsky-square' and the general had been buried there by the monument. The monument was erected in 1950 and designed by sculptor Nikolai Tomsky and architect Lev Golubovsky. After the independence one decided to call the square 'Savivaldybes aikste' - Municipality square. In the years ninety the general has been dug up and is transported with the monument to Russia.
The backside of the card, resized 50%.
By the LTSR issued cover, IV.16.1974
Original print size of this image: 16,087 x 11,032 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Commemorative cancel 9-V-1975 Vilnius: "30th Anniversary of Soviet people's victory"
Much information about -now disappeared - names in Vilnius you can find in the travel guide:
Vilnius : a guide / Antanas Papšys. - Moscow : Progress Publishers, 1981.
This guide -p.116- about the statue:
"On a high dark-marble pedestal the bronze figure of general Chernyakhovsky is depicted in the height of battle standing on a tank. His intelligent resolute face is anxious and strained as he directs the battle. He is standing still and only his clenched left fist betrays his tremendous inner tension. The inscription in Lithuanian on the pedestal reads as follows:"To Army General I.D. Chernyakhovsky from the Lithuanian people"."
A map from this book gives also the old names:
At the Lenin avenue, near the crossing with the Girosstraat, you see the little garden in the Chernyakhovsky square with the memorial for this general. The bonze statue is pictured as standing on a tank. In the travel guide we read:
"His intelligent resolute face is anxious and strained as he directs the battle. He is standing still and only his clenched left fist betrays his tremendous inner tension. The inscription in Lithuanian on the pedestal reads as follows: "To Army General I.D. Chernyakhovsky from the Lithuanian people. ".. ".
The memorial is placed next the tomb. Many official institutions were placed around the square, as the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania, the Institute for the History of the Party and the Central Committee of the Komsomol of Lithuania.
When we from the Girosstreet go right in the Leninstreet, we see on the right also the little garden with the memerial for the writer Žemaite (1845-1921). Also this memorial, erected in 1970, you can finf on a postal stationery from the Soviet period. The statue is designed by the sculptor Petras Aleksandravicius and the architects Algimantas and Vytautas Nasvytis.
Original print size of this image: 16,417 x 11,692 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Something further, direction river Neris, we see the greatest square of Vilnius, then Lenin-square. The square in town-district Lukiškes, is new arranged in 1952 according the plan of the architect Vladidlovas Mikučianis, on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the restoration of Soviet-power.
The statue of Lenin yet standing in full glory on the Lenin-square.
The cover is issued 2-3-1989.
The printing data on the back-side.
Original print size of this image: 16,468 x 11,617 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Card, postal stationery, with the statue of Lenin.
Original print size of this image: 14,969 x 10,676 cm (is something more as the postal item)
On 30 juli 1952 the statue of Lenin was unveiled in the center of the square. The bronze statue was made by the sculptor Nikolai Tomsky and the red granite pedestal was designed by architect Vladislovas Mikučianis.
In august 1990 Lenin is removed from his pedestal here. The place, the Lenin-square, the former Lukiš-square, was a remarkable place: Lenin was posioned with his face to the former KGB building. In these headquarters of the Soviet Secret Servive (KGB) the Gestapo was established during the war, and before that time, in 1940, the NKVD (predecessor of the KGB). A building with history. Before the Second World War -Vilnius was yet Polish- the same building housed the Polish police.
Many picture postcards as postal stationeries -with imprinted stamp-, have a connection with Lithuania. They are also listed in a catalog: Ženklinių Pašto Atvirukų : Katalogas 1960-1991.
The first card with a symbolic-Lithuanian- meaning is issued October 12, 1955. The card here is the first card with a picture from Lithuania: the statue of Lenin in Vilnius. The card is issued January 9, 1962.
On the backside (14,994 x 10,72 7 cm) you can see that it is an older postal stationery-card.
In the Michel Ganzsachen Katalog Europa bis 1960 (cop. 2008) the picture postcards as postal stationeries are divided in 'einseitige Bildpostkarten' (one-sided picture-postcards, with picture left on the address-side) and 'zweiseitige Bildpostkarten'. Here we have to do with the 'zweiseitige Bildpostkarten': one side for adress, message and imprinted stamp, the other side for the picture. Michel has a division according the imprinted stamp: stamp of the series permanent postage stamps.
This first 'Lithuanian' card has as imprinted stamp a stamp of the 10th series permanent postage stamps with year 1961. For the postcards in this period is used the stamp with the starting rocket.
In the Michel Ganzsachen Katalog (MGK) 2004/05 there are used 4 types of this imprinted stamp. On the stamp on this card is used the type offsett with fine lines for background and moon. In Michel this card is P 285: without coat of arms, printing house green/white, without fluorescent yellow.
MGK gives also a subdivision of P 285: this is P II.
The printing-details at the bottom of the card: issued January 9, 1962,
and printed by МПФ ГОЗНАКА [MPF GOZNAKA], short for МОСКОВСКОЙ ПЕЧАТНОЙ ФАБРИКЕ ГОЗНАКА [MOSKOVSKOI PECHATNOI FABRIKE], Moscow Printing Factory Goznak.
On July 6, 1919 the People's Commissariat of Finance of the RSFSR issued a Decree on the Management of the State Papers Stock Factories: Goznak. About the history of Goznak, see: http://www.goznak.ru/eng/about/history/.
Details of these cards (with 'Baltic' motive), with diagrams for the classification in the articles:
- Postwaardestukken uit de Sovjetperiode : ansichtkaarten / Jan Kaptein. - In: Het Baltische Gebied 2012 ; 60. - p. 4-25
- Postwaardestukken uit de Sovjetperiode : ansichtkaarten : aanvulling / Jan Kaptein. - In: Het Baltische Gebied 2012 ; 61. - p. 50-51
Another card, also postal stationery, with the statue of Lenin.
Original print size of this image: 15,020 x 10,601 cm (is something more as the postal item)
On the backside of this card, we find more details. The card is issued in 1969.
On this type cards the printing information is not on one line at the bottom, but on the right side under the address-lines. Also this card is printed by the МОСКОВСКОЙ ПЕЧАТНОЙ ФАБРИКЕ ГОЗНАКА [MOSKOVSKOI PECHATNOI FABRIKE], Moscow Printing Factory Goznak, here indicated with МПФГ.
In Michel (MGK) this type card is classified under the cards with imprinted stamp of the 11th series permanent postage stamps, with the year 1966. For postcards and (not-airpost) picture postcards is used the stamp with picture of boy and girl (3 kop.). A main division of the cards: with postal code field (P 321-354) and with postal code field (P 360-397) On the cards we see the stamp in three ways: without box, with box, printed 'perforation'. The stamp itself has also two types.
This card has no postal code: between P321 and P354. These cards are to divide in twoo groups: with text КАРТОЧКА ПОЧТОВАЯ [KARTOCHKA POCHTOVAYA] -on cards P321 - P339 or КАРТОЧКА ПОЧТОВАЯ[POCHTOVAYA KARTOCHKA] on cards P341-P354.
So this cards must classified between P321 ans 339.
The card has a line between fields for address and sender (P328-P339), imprinted stamp has a printed 'perforation' and printer indication is МПФГ: P335 with stamp type I or P 336 with stamp type II.
The types of stamp:
- Type I: typography. Shading on right shoulder of the girl is interrupted 2 mm (form of a triangle)
- Type II: offsett. Shading on right shoulder of the girl is interrupted 0,5 mm
This card is clearly with the stamp type I: so P 335.
In the Tsarist period the Tsarist gendarmerie was established here. Now it is -appropriately- the 'Museum of genocide', better known as the 'KGB-museum'. From 1944 to 1953 about 15.000 people were brought here for interrogation. The Lenin sqyare also has a special meaning for the Lithuanians. The leaders of the anti-Russian revolt of 1863-1864 were hanged and buried here. Now the square is again named Lukiškes-square.
About the tsaristic postmark of Lukiškes: see here.
Another postal stationery with the statue of Lenin
Original print size of this image: 14,944 x 10,677 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Other literature about this postcards, postal stationeries:
- Ganzsachen-Postkarten der Sowjetunion / von Hans-Werner Reinboth In: Deutsche Zeitschrift f Russland-Philatelie 2002 ; Heft nr. 76. - S. 34-40. - [About: posta stationeries-postcards of the Soviet Union]
There is also a catalog in Russian- I have not seen yet, but seems me interesting:
- Catalog of the Postal stationeries - picture postcards of the USSR 1924-1991 / L.I. Emeljanow, W.A. Pantjuchin and E.A. Safonow ; red. W.A. Pantjuchin. - 2004. In Russian. - [description of about 20.000 cards, with index on placenames by soviet-unionrepublic]
Backside of an envelope, issued by the LTSR in 1968.
In 'Meniniu Voku katalogas' of Kostas Aleksynas nr. 512.
On the rightside we see the statue of Lenin on the square.
Original print size of this image: 15,790 x 11,082 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Envelope, issued by the LTSR.
On the left on the cover we see the statue of Lenin on the square.
Original print size of this image: 15,833 x 11,185 cm (is something more as the postal item)
The postmark -resized here 50 %- is of ПЕЖИШКЯЙ ЛИТ [MEZHISHKYAI LIT.], and we see also the Lithuanian indication MIEŽIŠKIAI.
When we open the letter we see the details -resized 50 %- of the issue of the envelope.
With some further resizing in the computer we can read the number 2127. In the catalog 'Meniniu Voku katalogas' of Kostas Aleksynas catalognumber 53 (43) with Užs. 2127. The envelope is issued in 1959.
As said herefore: in august 1990 the statue is removed. It is not destructed, but you can find is in one of the most remarkable museums of Lithuania: Grutas Park.
Quite close to Druskininkai we find one of the most curious museums of Eastern Europe: 'Grutas Park', also called "Stalin World'. The collection consists of statues of the Soviet period, which found a new place here in the park.
Lenin, Stalin and the communist hero Kapsukas lay for years in the back garden of the Dailes Studija supermarket, where they were dumped after 1990. In 1999 the government offered a prize: what must happen now to the statues.
The millionaire Vilumas Malinauskas won the prize contest with the idea of laying out an open-air park with the statues. This became Grutas Park, which must also be a warning for future generations. To see how bad the old regime was, a reconstruction of a detention camp was built here. The idea of deporting visitors to the theme park in open wagons goes too far for the authorities.
The statue of Lenin, which stood in Vilnius in Lenin Square, you can find here now. Both legs are added again, but the thumb of the right hand is stillmissing. Of course you can also find Stalin here. The statue of the dictator, which in the eighties stood opposite the station of Vilnius, has now arrived in this park.
Also the well-known statue of Kapsukas together with Lenin can now be found in Grutas Park. The statue stood near the University of Vilnius and symbolized the brotherhood between the Lithuanian and Russian people. The University was renamed Kapsukas University in 1955. As a result of the 400-year existence in 1979 the statue of Kapsukas with Lenin was placed.
Postal stationery with in the foreground the well-known statue of Kapsukas together with Lenin, issued 20.05.88
The statue was placed close to the University of Vilnius. With the nationalistic protest in 1991 the statue is beheaded. Vilumas Malinauskas saved and repaired the statue, so it can again be seen with a lot of other in Grutas Park.
Original print size of this image: 16,442 x 11,718 cm (is something more as the postal item)
The university is in 1955 renamed as V. MickeviČius-Kapsukas University, as you can see on this postal stationery, issued 29-11-1978.
In 1989 the old name is back: Vilnius University.
Original print size of this image: 16,417 x 11,692 cm (is something more as the postal item)
The text (resized 50%).
The cover and postmark are issued for the 400-year jubilee of the university. Also the stamp on the cover, Mi. 4818 (issued 16-1-1979), refer to this jubilee.
Many students take part in the uprising in Lithuania and Poland in 1830. So by a decree of tsar Nikolai I, 1 may 1832, the university is closed: the authorities feared for revolutionary ideas.
On 13 march 1919 Vincas Kapsukas signed a decree of the Soviet of People's Commissars on opening the University in Vilnius.
More about the history of the university, especial from the Soviet point of view:
- Vilnius : a guide / Antanas Papšys. - Moscow : Progress Publishers, 1981. - p. 72-83
- Aus der Geschichte der Universität in Vilnius / Andrzej Wydra. - In: Lituania 2002 ; nr. 18. - p. 1218-1229. - [About the postal history of the University]
Postal stationery, issued 20/V-74, with the statue of Kapsukas, placed in 1952 opposite of the town hall, made by Petras Vaivada. Now in het Grutas Park.
Original print size of this image: 16,569 x 11,895 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas (1880-1935) was one of the organisers and leaders of the Lithuanian Kommunist Party. In 1903 he became member of the Lithuanian Social-Democrats. He took part in the revolution of 1905-1907 in Lithuania, came in prison and went in exile from 1907. In 1914 he got contacr with Lenin in Krakow and emigrated afterwards to the United kingdom and the United States. There he was editor of Lithuanian Social-Democratic magazines. In 1917 he could be find in Petrograd, became member of the RSDLP(B) and editor of the first Lithuanian Bolshevist newspaper 'Tiesa', the Truth. After the October revolution of 1917 Kapsukas was commissioner of the Soviet-government for Lithuanian Affairs an member of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Kommunist Party.
With the begin of the first Lithuanian Soviet government (1918-1919) he became the Chairman. From 1920-1921 he did underground work in Vilnius, but take refuge afterwards to Moscow. There he fulfilled all kinds of functions.
As important leader of the Lithuanian Communists, he was honoured with several statues, which are to find now in Grutas Park.
From "Litauische Sozialistische Sowjet-Republik" (brochure issued for the '60.Jahrestages der grossen Sozialistischen oktoberrevolution', p.6):
"Am 8. Dezember  wurde auf der Tagung des Zentralkomitees der Partei in Vilnius die Provisorische Revolutionäre Arbeiter-und-Bauern-Regierung Litauens gebildet. Ihr Vorsitzender, Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas, arbeitete ein Manifest aus, das am 16. Dezember veröffentlicht wurde. Tags zuvor, am 15. Dezember, hatte der Rat der Arbeiterdeputierten in Vilnius die Sowjetmacht ausgerufen.
Im Namen der aufständischen Arbeiter und Bauern sowie der litauischen Rotarmisten....."
Even a place became mentioned to him: Mariampolė became changed in 1955 in Kapsukas. In 1990 the old name came back: Marijampolė.
Here you see a maximum-card with a stamp of the Soviet-Union with Kapsukas and the cancel of Kapsukas.
The stamp, Mi. 2040, is issued 28-12-1957.
Original print size of this image: 10,609 x 15,113 cm (is something more as the postal item)
Kapsukas on a map of Lietuvos TSR from 1987.
Another postal stationery, issued 19-7-1967 (50 years October-revolution), with the statue of Kapsukas
Original print size of this image: 16,010 x 11,565 cm (is something more as the postal item)
The stamp, you see above on the postal stationery, with the same topic, is Mi.3370, issued 4-8-1967 (resized 50 %).
The special postmark
(resized 50 %).
The portrait of Kapsukas you can see on the postal stationery, right here, issued 13-12-1979.
Original print size of this image: 16,391 x 11,718 cm (is something more as the postal item)