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Saturday 4 October 2014

1918 Ukraine / Bessarabia / Moldova / Romania

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This is an unusual and interesting item but to understand it I need more information.

Here we have a Kerensky card uprated to 10 kopecks with a Russian adhesive cancelled with an Imperial Russian MARKULESHTI BECC 5 6 18 postmark - a town which is now Marculesti in northern Moldova. The franking corresponds to the postcard rate of the Ukrainian National Republic.

It's possible that Marculesti was under UNR control at this point. But it is also possible that it was within the territory of the Moldovan Democratic Republic declared early in 1918 and which soon voted for Union with Romania. When the Central Powers effectively subordinated Romania to their control by the Treaty of Bucharest, they recognised this Union.

However, this card addressed to Braila has been treated like foreign mail. My guess is that the oval CENZURAT with letter I was applied at Iasi (Russian Yassy) though whether this is true of the bridge cancellation dated 27 JUN 918 and the other violet cachet I don't know. Iasi would have been the obvious point of reception for mail coming south across the border from Bessarabia / Moldova.

There is a postage due T cachet and "20" crayoned in blue.  Was the UNR 10 kopeck Tariff no longer valid in Marculesti or was someone expecting to see Romanian stamps on this card? [ Added 12 October: Alexander Epstein thinks it likely that the Romanian authorities did not recognise the Russian stamps ]

Added: See the very useful Comments from Vaislis Opsimos for answers to my questions

I have only one other item from the Moldavian Democratic Republic, an internal Registered letter sent from BOLGRAD BEC. 17 4 18 and addressed to Kishinev with receiver cancel KISHINEV 20 4 18 on the reverse. Again, this is franked at the Ukrainian National Republic tariff of 50 kopecks for an inland registered letter:

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Added 12 October: Alexander Epstein has sent me the following three images of cards used in the Moldovan Democratic Republic - take a close look: you are not likely to see more like this in the near future:

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Added February 2020: Most of my Ukraine-related Blog posts are now available in full colour book form. To find out more follow the link:


  1. Very interesting and scarce card!

    According to some information (see an article by Alexander Epstein here:, the postal rates of Ukraine were in use in Bessarabia. So 10k would have been the proper rate in early 1918. It is possible, however, that following the proclamation of the union of the Moldovan Democratic Republic with Romania in early April, these rates gradually became invalid. Hence the postage-due in June.

    The bridge cancellation of 27 JUN is indeed from Iasi, see here:

    1. Remove the "close quotation mark", after the 2, for the link to function.