The Russia Zemtswos

Zemtwos are the result of a law of 1864. Every government of Russin got from the Tsar a certain kind of autonomy relating to the postal delivery. The goverments only had the Obligation to deliver the State post. That post was sent from capital to capital or from jcapital to a city with a railway station. The receiving city had to provide its own means to transport the post to the right adresses.

Around 1870 the "Zemstwos" got the job to deliver the post. A "Zemstwo" is a kind of land registry office. Comparing with modern city delivery by private letter carriers: the Zemstwo is based on an official postage law. So they are usable in a topical collection.

The first Zemstwo appeared in September 1875 in Schüsselburg near St. Petersburg. The last Zemstwo is from 1920 (Perm). Nearly all Zemstwos are made by local printers. Most stamps are type-set.

There are six Zemstwo-cities with a beehive in their city arms:

1. Berdyansk (government Tavric) 
beehive and plough above an anchor)

Berdyansk is a town with a seaport on the north side of the Sea of Azov. You find this sea east of the Crimea as part of the Black Sea.

The 1870 stamp (10 copecks) is black, green and blue - or - black, green and sky blue.

The 1882 stamp (also 10 copecks) has a green 'door' in the beehive. These stamps are printed on two types of paper: wove and laid. Stamps on laid paper are rare.

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2. Borisoglebsk (government Tambow) 
beehive with two bees above three mountains)

The city is situated between two small rivers 165 km south west of Tambow. From 1872 till 1882 ten stamps are issued. There are two "problems" with these stamps:

- you don't recognize them as a stamp; they look like a round sticker with a waved margin.

- the city arms are printed in relief without colour. So: hardly distinguishable.

The stamps (all 3 copecks) are blue: from ultramarine to sky blue and greenish blue. The greenish one is rare.

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3. Morshansk (government Tambow) 
(a beehive with two or three bees above two crossed anchors)

Morshansk is situated along the railroad from Penza to Tula, 90 km north of Tambow. The town was founded in 1779 and its first name was Morsha.

The first stamps of Morshansk are from 1876. In 1881 the stamps were forbidden, because the colours resembled too much the colours of the imperial stamps (red and grey). The value of all stamps is five copecks.

In the years 1876 to 1903 nearly 50 stamps - perforated and unperforated - were issued in 19 different designs.

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4. Osa (government Perm)
(a bear above and under a log hive with six or more bees)

The town is situated 130 km south west of Perm. There are nearly 54 stamps issued in the years 1890 till 1910. The values were 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 copecks.

Most have the city arms in an oval. But in the 1898 issue is only a log hive on the stamp. After 1899 the city arms disappeared to be replaced by value figures.

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5. Shatsk (government Tambow)
(a beehive with three bees above two crossed sheafs of cora)

I cannot find this city in my atlas. The first stamp was issued in 1871, the last one used in 1916.

In the years 1884 till 1888 the city arms disappeared. All stamps are valued 3 copecks, except the stamps of 1874 (5 copecks). The Shatsk post was closed in 1879, but reopened in 1884.

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6. Tambow (government Tambow)
(a beehive with three bees placed on a grass field)

Tambow is the capitol of the gouvernment with the same name. The town is situated on the river Tsna halfway along the railway between Moscow - Saratof.

There are three Tambow stamps: a blue one of three copecks of 1870 which is extremly rare; a black on of 1871 (3 copecks) and a lilac one of 1872 (5 copecks) which is also rare. The Tambow stamps are very small and are unperforated.

The Tambow post was suppressed in 1876. 

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by Jan de Crom  
taken from "The Postal Bee" 2/1998 
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