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Unique Russia Stamp Album with Colour Illustrations OR
Greyscale Illustrated

Classic Russia Stamp Album

Tuva Stamps

After having purchased some wonderful stamps on eBay from the Republic of Tuva (Tannu Tuva) I became rather interested in this fascinating region. Tannu Tuva is located in the Tannu Mountains on the Siberian border in northwestern Mongolia. Specifically it is a 170,000 sq. km region between modern Mongolia and the former USSR.

Tuva encompasses 64,000 square miles and a population of 308,000. The first postage stamps were issued in 1926. Many colourful stamps were issued from 1926 to 1943 and provide a unique pictorial opportunity to observe the lifestyle, landscape and animal life of Tuva during that period of their history.


This is an incredibly beautiful land with every kind of environment from Siberian Cold to Gobi-Dessert Heat...mountain and plain. Tuvans (or Tuvinians), a group of Turkic people, make up about two thirds of the population. The Nomads of Tuva have a unique singing technique where they can sing more than one note at the same takes a bit of getting used to but is quite beautiful and addictive once you've heard it. This incredibly beautiful land was the site of the first domestication of animals (reindeer), has an incredible variety of environments, and fielded many warriors in the age of the Khans.

Tuvan History
The historic region of Tannu Uriankhai, which Tuva is part of, was controlled by the Mongols from the 13th to 18th centuries. From 1757 to 1911 it was under Chinese Manchu rule. During the 19th century Russians began to settle in Tuva, resulting in an 1860 Chinese-Russian treaty, in which China allowed Russians to settle providing that they lived in boats or tents. In 1881 Russians were allowed to live in permanent buildings. By that time a sizeable Russian community had been established, whose affairs were managed by an official in Russia (these officials also settled disputes and checked on Tuvan chiefs). Russian interests in Tuva continued into the 20th century.

During the 1911 revolution in China, tsarist Russia fomented a separatist movement among the Tuvans. Tsar Nicholas II ordered Russian troops into Tuva in 1912, as Russian settlers were being attacked. Tuva became nominally independent before being made a Russian protectorate in 1914. This move was apparently requested by a number of prominent Tuvans, including the High Lama, though it is possible they were actually acting under the coercion of Russian soldiers. A capital was established, called Belotsarsk (Белоца́рск; literally, "Town of White Tsar"). Meanwhile, in 1911, Mongolia became independent, though under Russian protection.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Communist troops took Tuva in January of 1920. On August 14, 1921 the Bolsheviks (supported by Russia) established a Tuvinian People's Republic, popularly called Tannu-Tuva. In 1926, the capital (Belotsarsk; Khem-Beldyr since 1918) was renamed Kyzyl (meaning "Red"). However, Tuva was still an independent state between the World Wars.

The USSR annexed Tuva outright in 1944, apparently with the approval of Tuva's Little Khural (parliament), though there was no Tuva-wide vote on the issue. Salchak Toka, the leader of Tuvan communists, was given the title of First Secretary of the Tuvan Communist Party and became a de-facto ruler of Tuva. Tuva was made the Tuvan Autonomous Oblast and then became the Tuva ASSR on October 10, 1961. Toka's rule was characterized by a concerted effort to introduce collectivism and to destroy Tuvan culture, especially that of a religious nature. Salchak Toka died in 1973.

In February of 1990, the Tuvan Democratic Movement was founded by Kaadyr-ool Bicheldei, a philologist at Kyzyl University. The party aimed to provide jobs and housing (both were in short supply), and also to improve the status of Tuvan language and culture. Later on in the year there was a wave of attacks against Tuva's sizeable Russian community, resulting in 88 deaths. Russian troops eventually were called in. Many Russians moved out of the republic during this period.

Tuva was a signatory to the March 31, 1992 treaty that created the Russian Federation. A new constitution for the republic was drawn up on October 22, 1993. This created a 32-member parliament (Supreme Khural) and a Grand Khural, which is responsible for foreign policy, ensuring that Tuvan law is given precedence and any possible changes to the constitution. The constitution also allowed for a referendum if Tyva ever sought independence. This constitution was passed by 62.2% of Tuvans in a referendum on December 12, 1993. At the same time the official name was changed from Tuva (Тува) to Tyva (Тыва).

The Republic of China has never officially recognized the Russian claim, and maps made in Taiwan have often included Tuva (along with Outer Mongolia) as part of China. This claim, along with the Taiwanese claim to mainland China, has been largely ignored since the early 1990s.

Tuva Stamp Album Pages
I have made a start at producing Tuva stamp album pages, for all stamps issued from 1926-1943: SG#1 to SG#137. These pages will match all others in the Ruskystamps album - ideal 'Back of Book' pages. I cannot promise at the moment when these will be finished, but one day!

Page Last Updated 03/06/2016
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