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kiompie
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[*] posted on 11/25/2003 at 14:42
Mezdunarodnoe


Does anybody know when the well-known censor mark "Mezdunarodnoe" first came into use and when it was abolished? Thanks in advance.
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Anatoly
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[*] posted on 12/3/2003 at 04:00


Mezhdunarodnoe cachets were usually used during 1950-1960's.



Later, censors become too lazy to apply the cachets on their own and international envelopes were accompanied with typographic incription "Mezhdunarodnoe" (as on 1990 the sample shown). So a customer buying the envelopes was sure that the letter he/she was going to write is censored in advance but censors were not as busy opening the pre-censored envelopes and had a plenty of spare time for shopping, chating, etc. during working hours.
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/3/2003 at 05:25


The base article on the subject was published in journal #125. Written by Skipton. In issue 128-129, P.J. Campbell did a follow up.
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Rusalka
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[*] posted on 12/4/2003 at 00:22
Too far away


If we had a CD-ROM of back issues then it would be very easy to access those articles which not all of us are able to get a hold of easily.

My 3 kopeks worth!

:P
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/4/2003 at 05:49


Currently, Rossica has the only member library in the Western world. All issues of the journal and thousand of other items are available basically at cost to photocopy and mail. Much information is rreadiy available, but as they say..."we can get you to the water hole, but cannot make you drink."
;);)

Next time please send at least a ruble. Given the current exchange rate, we lose money converting such small amounts.:(
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kiompie
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[*] posted on 12/4/2003 at 23:30
Thanks!


Thank you very much, Anatoly for the information and for scanning a modern example!


And thank you, Gary, for pointing out the Rossica articles.


I am too busy right now to say much more in any coherent way, just needed to get this message out.:)

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yozhik
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mad.gif posted on 12/11/2003 at 08:55
Shame on you for such lies


Gary, I am apalled at your cheek!
"only member library in the western world" What twaddle!!

As you well know, or dang well should by now, the BSRP has an extensive member library. Albeit that after the tragic death of George Henderson recently we are looking for a librarian to step into his shoes.

As far as I am aware the Great Britain is still part of the Western World.

I thought Hollywood was bad enough for distorting the truth and claiming just about everything for the USA without Rossica joining in.
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yozhik
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wink.gif posted on 12/11/2003 at 09:22
Mezdunarodnoe (back to the theme)


If I am not mistaken there seems to be a rather large flaw running through this string of postings.
The first posting boldly started with "...the well-known censor mark "Mezdunarodnoe"... "
and no one has actually come forward to point out that it has not yet been proved that this is a censor marking at all or that it is anything other than a marking indicating foreign mail.
Skipton speculated that it might be and Campbell began some investigative work into this with a detailed analysis of his own collection of such covers.

Campbells own statements reflect that this is still only a hypothesis as yet unproven.

"...results..encouraging..."
"More data is required..."
"..it is certainly possible to believe..",
"the working of the system, if one accepts there was a system...."
"more work needs to be done..."

It is still possible that these markings are nothing more than what they superficially seem - indications of foreign destination mail.
It is quite possible that the breaks analysed are nothing more than cracked rubber in a handstamp which would obviously be different from place to place and thus can be tied back to particular places of origin.

It is worth keeping these things in mind as it is very easy for a well written hypothesis to become accepted as a truth simply because it goes unchallenged and appears in a book somewhere.
The jury is still out on this one.
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/11/2003 at 09:38


I do apologize to the BSRP! The BSRP does have and has had an excellent Library. Perhaps what I should have said, but did not, was that it exists but access may not be available until they find a new Librarian, which I do hope is very soon.:(
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kiompie
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[*] posted on 12/11/2003 at 19:13


Thanks, Yozhik, for the added information.
I assumed "mezdunarodnoe" was a censor mark because I always found it described that way. Being a newbie I thought that it was common knowledge and therefore did not question it.


I always wondered, far away in the back of my mind, why the covers I have - bearing that mark - do not show signs of resealing. And surely I cannot imagine censors reading each and every letter before it was put in the envelope. Is there anything known about a possible procedure? Are there letters bearing the mark? And why were most of them applied in the 1950s-1960s and not before or after? Was it making sorting easier and, if so, why was the practice abandoned? So many questions... :o

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biggrin.gif posted on 12/12/2003 at 22:06
More thoughts on Mezdhunarodnoe


Well here goes, at great personal risk I am donning my armour and enterring the fray. ;-). Small brickbats only in reply please I'm a little delicate after a great Russian meal and an indeterminate amount of vodka.

I have following the articles in Rossica been taking much more of an interest in this marking as I have to confess a degree of cynisism. I have also had some discusion of this with both Anatoly Kiryushkin and other philatelists in Russia.

In my view and that of a number of others, the whole study shows nothing more than varieties of the same mark used for marking mail going abroad.

Campbells study is highly commendable for it's scientific approach but it did not, as he admits, provide the conclusive evidence needed.

My position is based upon the following:

1. It cannot be secret censorship as it's visible.

2.Postal censorship
really existed but it was indeed secret and left almost no marks.

3. These markings under discusion appear only on outgoing mail - are we to think that only mail to abroad was censored?
If Mezdhunarodnoe was a censor mark then the absence of a similar mark "Mestnoe" -inland mail would point this way.
It is a known fact backed up by the experince of international correspondents during the 1950's-80's that mail was inspected/censored it is also the case that incoming mail was, it seems, more often checked than outgoing mail)

4. As far as we know there were just a handfull of PO's in the USSR which
had direct postal exchange with other countries. A logical step if you wanted to censor /inspect/control mail flow being to limit the outlets which makes control easier.
These post offices were: Moscow, the capitals of the republics
plus several important sea ports such as Odessa, Vladivostok (etc) and Towns
with international flight airports.

The process was that international mail collected in ordinary post offices was not sorted by country of destination but was sent for sorting to the international offices.

The "Mezhdunarodnoe" marks were
available at every (even rural) PO to mark the mail for easier sorting during transit to the nearest International PO.

The marks dissapear in the late 1960's when the post code system was introduced and code 500 was reserved for any mail to abroad.
(My copy of the 1966 postal regulations provides details of the use of the marking)

For some years local PO's continued to use the marks but, as is often the case out of habbit rather than a real need.

This analysis matches well with other postal administrations in that "Air mail" labels and marks are not designed just to show that the mail is franked at air mail rates (as most people think) - the franking values indicate that. They are mostly a sorting mechanism.

E.G. A surface letter from Shefield to
France will probably be forwared to London for further delivery to
France but an air mail letterwill most likely be forwarded in the opposite direction - Manchester International airport.
The same with "Mezhdunarodnoe" marks.
Indeed I remember in the 1960's we still had seperate mailboxes in London and big cities for foreign mail - again for ease of sorting.

5. The next point relates to How such stamps are produced and used. (materials, wear and tear etc).

Rubber stamps wear and crack and the rate/frequency of this is determined by factors such as production quality control, useage, climate, and the quality of the materials used. At busy times inking of the stamp may also be uneven due to dry inkpads, the way in which the stamp and pad come into contact (It is actually possible with handstruck marks for forensic experts to determine from the strike whether the user was left or right handed. Although the design of the whole stamp is needed first to determine how it would be held)

All of this can lead to the "breaks" under discussion.

If breaks occur in a stamp they would, for a time be consistent in terms of position size etc and of course the breaks would be different for each different stamp as the chances of two having identical flaws are very very small.
So yes it would be possible to identify through study the originating post office but there is no proof in this of a link with censorship.

That a pattern emerges in the positioning of cracks can also be explained by material sciences rather than censorship. With many products there are weak points and points which will wear more quickly than others.
This can be the result of wear due to a particular method of use (a handstamp used by a righthanded person will often show more wear and distortion on the right hand side of the stamp as a result of the natural angle of strike and force distribution).
It can also be an issue of design or material characteristics. Cracks can occur as a result of a shrinkage or deterioration of the rubber/metal of the stamp and the points at which the actual stamp plate fixes to it handle/carrier can create "stress points". Cracks are therefore more likely at these stress points.
There are a number of other similar points in relation to this issue of productionand materials and it would be useful to be able to study a representative sample of the handstamps in order to either confirm or refute their influence on the cracks/marks studied.

Finally another factor which has some bearing is the political climate at the time. these markings appear during the late 1950's and through the 1960's - during the Krushchev era when there was a certain amount of liberisation in Russia. Those philatelist I have spoken to inside Russia tell me that this included a more liberal attitude towards international corespondence and that it became possible for collectors to communicate and exchange material much more easily. This situation changed markedly when Brezhnev came to power and at least one fellow philatelist who ignored an instruction from the post office to cease his stamp exchanges was later visited and told that if he did not heed the warnings he would be prosecuted as sending stamps abroad was akin to sending money. (As he always sent his material in sealed letters there is obvious evidence here of them being opened.).
What is intersting here is that this supposed censor mark has a lifespan roughly equivilent to the more liberal Krushchev era and dissapears during the more authoritarian Brezhnev era. This also, albeit obliquely, casts some doubt on the censorship arguement.

Hope that all helps somewhat.
I will now retreat to the bunker.
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yozhik
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biggrin.gif posted on 12/12/2003 at 22:11
Apologies accepted


The BSRP sends its thanks for the apology in respect of the library Gary.
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/13/2003 at 19:22


I spoke with Terry Page, who is a spokesman for the BSRP. Sadly, the BSRP library is in need of a Librarian. This is a most worthy effort. Please consider helping the BSRP keep the Library for use!
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kiompie
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thumbup.gif posted on 12/13/2003 at 19:50
Great!


Yozhik, thank you very much for the elaboration. Great info!


However, I have two Albanian covers with incoming "mezdunarodnoe" markings - shown below. Either these covers are completely contrived or there was some usage for the marking on incoming mail. It would be great if others could dig into their collections and find more examples (if genuine ones exist).

The covers:



The receiving marks on the back:

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yozhik
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thumbup.gif posted on 12/15/2003 at 07:51
Re: The BSRP


Thanks for posting the request for help with the BSRP library issue.

If I am not mistaken however there is a strong implication in the posting ("I spoke ...who is a spokesman for the BSRP";) that I have no right to speak on behalf of the society. This is not the case, I am and have been for some time an elected committee member and am also a spokesman for the BSRP - having the PR and media contact responsibility, which incidently is why I was so incensed by the original library claim.
I do a lot to promote the BSRP and its member services, of which the library is one, and it undermines these efforts considerably when a posting such as the one made regarding the Uniqueness of the Rossica library is made on a website specifically devoted to Russian philately. Perhaps if it had come from a "newbie" I would have been less robust in my rebuttal but the claim came from the president of Rossica, an experienced philatelist whose statements thus carry more weight. I therefore felt justified in making a public rebuttal of the claim in the strongest possible way - in the same forum it was made so as to reach the same audience and correct the erroneous message.

The rebuttal I posted as an outraged individual member of the BSRP who could see the extent of damage that such careless statements can cause.

The thanks for the apology and correction I sent in my official capacity as a BSRP representative.

My apologies if this dual track approach has clouded the issue regarding my position within the BSRP.
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