MaltaPost will issue 2 se-tenant stamps in sheetlets of 10 plus 2 labels on 24 May 2016 as a joint issue with the Russian postal service. The issue was designed by Marka, Russian Post and lithographed and perforated 14. The issue commemorates the Russian artist, Nicholss Krassnoff, who escaped to Malta from the nascent Soviet Union in 1919 and lived on the island until 1922. The issue is said to also commemorate the longstanding diplomatic relations between the 2 countries.
But is there more to this issue than meets the eye? While one of the stamps depicts a bland view in Malta painted by Krassnoff, the second depicts his painting of the Dulber Palace in Crimea, which of course was seized by Russia from Ukraine on 27 February 2014 and shortly afterwards, on 18 March 2016, annexed to become part of Putin's Russia.
Is there a significance to the choice of a Crimean scene being featured on the stamp? Is there more to a simple depiction of a rather indifferent painting on a stamp than the desire to commemorate the visit to an island which once saw Caravaggio living there? Has Malta Post been duped into a form of recognising Crimea as part of Russia by issuing this stamp? Is this a clever move by the Russian authorities in persuading a member of The European Union to allow this image to appear on one if its postage stamps?
Stamps can be very interesting in so many ways. Even in present times, not all stamps are issued with the main purpose of boosting a postal administration's income. Rating:- **.
Vanuatu Post issued 4 stamps on 11 May 2016 to commemorate the country's participation in the Olympic Games to be held in Rio De Janeiro. These excellent designs are by Denise Durkin and the issue was lithographed by Southern Colour Print and perforated 14 x 14.5. Rating:- ****.
In Blogs 686, 726, 744 I have mentioned the new definitive series from India Post which is being issued piecemeal and have so far illustrated 13 new stamps. We can now add 3 more - a Re1 depicting Bal Gangadhar Tilak (an Indian nationalist leader), a Rs3 value which shows M.S. Subbulakshmi (a singer and proponent of Carnatic music) and a Rs5 value which depicts Subhas Chandra Bose who led Indian forces which supported the Nazi German and Japanese forces against the Allies during World War II. Rating:- **.