Region: Russia Area
Group: Russian Revolution
Classification: Semi-Autonomious State
Prior Regime: Armenia Soviet Republic, Azerbaijan Soviet Republic and Georgia Soviet Republic
1922, Mar 12 – Formation of Transcaucasian SFSR
1922, Dec 29 – TSFSR becomes part of the USSR as a founding republic
1936, Dec 3 – TSFSR dismantled and separated into 3 Soviet Republics
Following Regime: Soviet Union
Scott Catalogue: (Transcaucasian Federated Republics) #1-31
Pick Catalogue: (Russia, Federation of Soviet Republics of Transcaucasian) #s611-s639
The Russian revolution in 1917 and the civil war which followed spawned a plethora of stamp issuing revolutionary and counter revolutionary armies as well as short lived “countries” prior to the ultimate formation of the Soviet Union in 1922. For a “dead country” collector, this period created a treasure trove of areas to collect.
One such “country” was the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR for short). The republic’s roots date back to the dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1917. During the October Revolution, the provinces of the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) seceded from the Empire and formed their own federal state called the Transcaucasian Federation. The union only lasted for 6 months, for in April 1918, competing interests along with war against Turkey led to the dissolution of the entity to form separate independent republics.
In 1920/21, when the Bolsheviks were consolidating power in Russia proper, they turned their attention and military might to other regions of the former Russian Empire. The transcaucasian countries (meaning the land separated from Russia by the Caucasus Mountains) were attacked and soon defeated by the Red Army. The Bolsheviks initially formed three separate states: Armenia SSR, Azerbaijan SSR and Georgia SSR, but at the behest of Stalin, on Mar 12th, 1922, the three states were again joined to form the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. The “independence” of TSFSR was also short lived, for on Dec. 29, 1922, the Russian SFSR, the Transcaucasian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR joined to form the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR).
Turmoil continued within the TSFSR, primarily because the Republic allowed the various regions to maintain their own local government and party structures. This created major difficulties in governing and decision making at the top level. Internal tensions ultimately caused the Soviets, in Dec, 1936, to dismantle the Transcaucasian SFSR and create three separate Republics within the USSR: the Georgian SSR, Armenian SSR, and the Azerbaijan SSR. These states lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union, and became the independent countries which exist today.
Prior to 1923, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan issued postage stamps as separate entities, however, TSFSR begin issueing its own stamps on Sep. 15th, 1923, which replaced the separate stamps by Oct. 1st. These first issues consisted of stamps of Russia and Armenia overprinted with a star containing the five-letter acronym ЗСФСР of the federation inside the points. This acronym is short for Закавказская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика or TCFSR Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.
Shortly thereafter, the TSFSR issued stamps of it’s own design in values ranging from 40,000 to 500,000 rubles with two basic designs: one containing the hammer and sickle over mountains, and the second, the picture of an oil field. As inflation was running rampant, the 40,000 and 75,000r issues were surcharged to 700,000r. On Oct 24th, the stamps were re-issued with values from 1 to 18 gold kopecks. One interesting note, for the re-issue, the oil field designs were used for the lower values in the set, which was reverse from the previous ruble issues. TSFSR stamps were replaced by stamps of the Soviet Union in 1924.
Due to massive inflation in the region, between 1923 and 1924, three sets of banknotes were issued for the Transcaucasian Federative Republic, prior to it’s replacement into gold kopeks and rubles.
Wikipedia article on Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
Overprints of Transcaucasian Federative Republic
Stamps spawned by or killed by the Russian Civil War – Linns.com
Banknotes of Transcaucasia from atsnotes.com