|UFDC Home||myUFDC Home | Help ||
|Officers and representatives of...|
|Life of the society|
|The Russian postal services in...|
ALL VOLUMES CITATION SEARCH THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
|Table of Contents|
Officers and representatives of the society
Life of the society
The Russian postal services in Bulgaria during 1877-1879 by D. N. Minchev
S"WIPA" 1933 BRONZE MEDAL "UNIPEX" 1960 SILVER MEDAL
""PPRAGA" 1935 BRONZE MEDAL "POLSKA" 1960 SILVER MEDAL
"WOSTRAPA" 1935 SILVER MEDAL "PRAGA" 1962 SILVER MEDAL
"ZEFIB" 197 SILVER MEDAL "MELUSINA" 1963 SILVER MEDAL
"BEPmILA" 1957 SILVER MEDAL 'PHILATEC" 1964 SILVER MEDAL
"EFICON" 1958 SILVER MEDAL "WIPA" 1965 SILVER MEDAL
"TEMEX" 1958 SILVER MEDAL "SIPEX" 1966 SILVER MEDAL
"IllTEPOSTA"1959 SILVER MEDAL "PRAGA" 1968 SILVER MEDAL
"SICILIA" 1959 SILVER MEDAL "APS-68" 1968 SILVER MEDAL
"BARCELONA" 1960 SILVER MEDAL "'EFIsEX" 1968 SILVER CERTIFICATE
""SOFIA-9" 1969 SILVER CERTIFICATE
sN. 81 1971
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Box 806, Church Street Station
New York, N.Y. 10008
Martin L. Harow
K. Adler, Emile Marcovitch, N. Epstein,
J. Terlecky (Ukrainian Editor)
1 Officers of the Society
1 Representatives of the Society
2 Life of the Society
6 The Russian Postal Services in Bulgaria during 1877-1879 by D.N. Minchev
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY
PRESIDENT: Kurt Adler, c/o Metropolitan Opera Inc., Lincoln Centre Plaza, N.Y. 10023
VICE-PRESIDENT: Gordon H. Torrey Ph.D., 5118 Duval Dr., Washington, D.C. 20016
SECRETARY: Joseph F. Chudoba, 426 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11225
TREASURER: Norman Epstein, 33 Crooke Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11226
CHAIRMAN OF AUDITING COMMITTEE: Andrew Cronin, Box 806, New York, N.Y. 10008
CHAIRMAN OF MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE: Martin Harow, 17 Second St., Brentwood, L.I. 11717
LIBRARIAN: J. Lee Shneidman, Ph.D., 161 W. 86th St., Apt. 5-B, New York, N.Y. 10024
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Emile Marcovitch, 65-61 Saunders St. Apt. 4-Q, Rego Park, N.Y. 11374
Boris Shishkin, 3523 Edmunds Rd., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SOCIETY
G.B. Salisbury Chapter: Joseph F. Chudoba, 426 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11225
San Francisco: K. Jansson, 624-16 Ave., San Francisco, Calif. 94118
Washington, D.C.: Boris Shishkin, 3523 Edmunds Rd., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007
Western USA: Lester S. Glass, 1553 So. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90035
Anything in this Journal may be reproduced without permission. However, acknowledgement of the source and
a copy of the reprinted matter would be appreciated.
The views expressed in this JOURNAL by the authors are their own and the Editors disclaim any responsibility.
At the present time the Membership Dues are $7.50, due January 1, for all members. Application forms, which
must be filled out, are available upon request. Membership lists, codes, bulletins and supplements to the member-
ship lists will be sent out annually. Kindly make all checks payable to:
ROSSICA SOCIETY OF RUSSIAN PHILATELY
c/o Mr. Norman Epstein
33 Crooke Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11226, U.S.A.
We have a very limited number of back issues of the Journal for sale, both in Russian and in English at $2.50 each:
Russian Editions No. 44 to 69; English Editions Nos. 78 to 81 are $3.50 each plus postage; earlier issues from No. 44
are $2.50 each plus postage, except where only Xerox copies available at $5.00 each.
LIFE OF THE SOCIETY
An important event of the year was the Pan-Slav Exhibition, held in conjunction with "COMPEX-71" at Chicago,
Ill. on 28-30 May 1971. As its title suggests, the show emphasized philatelic material from the Slav countries and
several Rossica members had very interesting displays there. Their awards were as follows:
Dr. L.P. Kozakiewicz Poland No. 1.
Dr. J. Kuderewicz Poland: Postal History 1564-1864.
M. A. Ayer Azerbaijan
G. H. Torrey, Ph.D. Russian Used Abroads.
A. Cronin -Soviet commems on covers; Postal History of Carpatho-Ukraine
In addition, several other collectors had magnificent exhibits of material of great interest to us, which won high
awards, as follows:
Z. Mikulski -Western Ukraine: Kolomyya, Lviv and Stanislaviv issues.
Dr. M. A. Kamienski Western Ukraine 1918-1919 and CMT issues; Krakow issue.
C. Makowski Poland No. 1 & Russian stationery used in Poland.
C. Schafer Central Lithuania 1920-22.
There was also a wonderful display of forgeries and reference material by the Mercury Stamp Co. of New York City
and pertaining to Russian and Ukrainian issues.
Sunday, 30 May 1971, was Rossica Day at the show and we were immortalized philatelically by a special issue of the
6C U.S. postcard precancelled for use by the Society on that day (see illustration No. 1). A small quantity of these
cards is still available at three for $1.00 from Dr. James J. Matejka Jr., 216 Hotel La Salle, Chicago, II. 60602. There
was also a special cacheted cover for us on that day, featuring the USSR 40 kop. Baku View stamp of 1958, but this
item is unfortunately sold out.
There were seven articles on our fields of interest contributed by Rossica members to the nicely printed
"Compex 71 Directory." Members may obtain a copy postpaid of this comprehensive Directory by sending
the sum of $1.00 to Dr. Matejka at the address given above.
While on the subject, we must extend our grateful thanks to Dr. Matejka for arranging for a suite, free of charge, for
the Rossica Society meeting at the show on Sunday afternoon. Your Editor had the great pleasure there of meeting
Dr. Kozakiewicz, who regaled us with his reminiscences of service in the Western Ukraine during 1919, also Jim
Mazepa of Chicago and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Weinberg, visiting from Indiana. Dick amazed us with the news of his
discovery of No. 287 in an unused block of four, originally bought at the post office during the 1920s by a visiting
Department of Agriculture official (see illustration No. 2). This block must certainly be unique and brings the total
number of unused copies of this stamp known in the U.S. up to seven.
Last, but certainly not least, your Editor enjoyed meeting fellow member Max Ayer, who had come up for the show
all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as many local Chicago philatelists, both at the exhibition and
afterwards during the course of his professional work in the "windy city." The kindnesses and goodwill extended by
Rossica members Richard Canman and Samuel Ray, Dr. Matejka and other officials and members of the Austin
and Chicago Philatelic Societies, Stan Jersey, Dr. H. Petrakos, Tom Fuerst, Dick Kanak, John Georges, Frank
Kovarik and many others will be remembered for a long time.
During the same month of May 1971, John Lloyd, our live-wire member in England, received a silver medal for his
exhibit of Russia at the International Stamp Exhibition "RSA-10" in Cape Town, South Africa. Jolly good show,
Also around that period of time, our Swiss friends W. Frauenlob and A. Lindenmaier, received vermeil medals for
their Russian displays at the NABA-71 National Show. Mr. Frauenlob's comments are so interesting that we repro-
duce them herewith.
"The NABA-71 Postage Stamp Exhibition in Basel was a complete success. The material on display was of very high
quality and the number of visitors very large. Three exhibitors showed collections of Imperial Russia. I stayed mainly
in front of my display so as to give information to anyone interested and who was collecting the same area. There
were very many collectors from Germany there who were interested in the Russian collections. Only one of them
answered in the affirmative when I asked if they belonged to either the Rossica or BSRP specialist groups. In Ger-
many, they are working on the idea of establishing a specialist society for Russian stamps, with a view to subsequently
inviting the collectors in Switzerland to join them. I tried to steer these collectors into "our" Societies, but I cannot
report any luck as these people want "their own" magazine in the German language. One of the visitors even asked
a member of our Societies to arrange to let him read the Journals, so as to get out of them what he needed! Another
collector stated that publications with price indications (a la Tchilinghirian) would not be of interest to specialists, in
that only dealers would benefit thereby and the philatelists would have to dig deeply into their purses."
Well, whatever the points of view, we wish our German colleagues all the very best in establishing their own Society.
The more the merrier, we say. Russian Philately can only benefit as a result.
"Pioneer Russian Transpolar Flights" was the subject of two half-hour radio talks given by our airmail enthusiast,
Ray Hofmann, over WNCN-FM on 12 and 26 Sept. 1971 for the "Philatelic Dialogue" programme, compered by the
genial Henry Fleischman.
Those of us who attend the Society meetings in New York City are well aware of the wide extent of Ray's researches,
including the trouble to which he has gone to read Russian inscriptions. His talks about the many unique items he
has unearthed were so interesting that they will form the basis for the airmail issue we are planning for Rossica No.
82. Members are assured they have a real treat in store for them.
Our member, E.L. Filby of Kansas City, Mo., was present at the 114th meeting in London, England of our fraternal
British group, the BSRP, on 22 May 1971.
He was extended a warm welcome by the Chairman, Mr. E. G. Peel and the other collectors present. We understand
from John Lloyd, our G.B. representative, that Mr. Filby thoroughly enjoyed himself at the meeting. These international
get-togethers are a heartening trend and we hope they increase.
ADDITION TO "LIFE OF THE SOCIETY":
We have just learned that the collection displayed at Philympia under the pseudonym of "Alexandra" and which won
a gold-silver vermeill) medal was, in fact, the exhibit of our Swiss member Walter Frauenlob.
We heartily congratulate Mr. Frauenlob on his fine performance!
PHILATELIC MAY 30, 1971
SOCIETY No. 321790 1 r ,
Fig. 1. ROSSICA AT COMPLEXX 71" Fig.
Fig. 2. "W-
Will all members please note that subscriptions are due on the 1st of January each year, regardless of the original
month of joining. New members receive all the journals issued during the year of joining.
To avoid the unnecessary delays which have occurred in the transfer of funds, our English members are kindly re-
quested to send their annual dues direct to our Treasurer, Mr. Norman Epstein, 33 Crooke Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y.
11226, U.S.A., by the most convenient means: Money order, bank draft, etc., rather than to a central course in
the United Kingdom.
Foreign members in general should add $1.50 to their cheques and bank drafts because of the high bank collection
charges in the U.S.A.
HAVE YOU REMEMBERED TO PAY YOUR ROSSICA DUES? MAIL DUES TO:
33 CROOKE AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11226
U. S. A.
Editorial REPRINTING SOVIET COMMEMS.
Every now and then, the hoary old rumor is revived about reprinting the scarce Soviet commemorative sets of the
1930s. The inference is that the plates are still in existence. The idea, of course, is partly to discourage the collect-
ing of Soviet stamps and also to drive down the prices for these desirable issues. It only needs a little reflection to
show how unfounded and unlikely this rumor is. Just consider the following aspects:
(1) First of all, most of the scarce sets were printed by the phototype process. The last time this method was
utilized for Soviet stamps was 12 years ago in Apr. 1959. Reference to the fine article "The Technology of Pro-
ducing Postage Stamps," by L. P. Grigoryeva and N. V. Novokshchenova, published in Rossica No. 75, will show
that the process, which employs a gelatine base, is not stable and cannot be used for large printings as the plates
break down. In the 30 to 40 years since the plates that printed the rarer stamps were last handled, any of them that
still survive would certainly show cracks where the gelatine has dried out or shrivelled. What may be in existence are
the original group negatives taken of the artists' designs and they would have to be reused to build up new plates.
The resulting differences, compared with the originals, would be readily apparent. There goes that fallacy.
(2) Practically all the stamps were printed on paper with the complicated "Greek borders and rosettes" watermark,
aptly referred to by the Russians as the "carpet" watermark. Here again, it was last used 34 years ago for the 30
kop. value in the Architectural Congress set of 1937. No doubt one of the factors in abandoning it then was that it
was laborious to manufacture. Even if the dandy roll for applying the watermark were still in existence, it would be
even more expensive to duplicate such a characteristic grade of paper today.
(3) Then, how about the problem of matching the ink colors with those of the originals? Differences would certain-
ly be readily visible.
(4) Finally, in view of the foregoing, what Postal Administration in its right mind would go to the considerable ex-
pense of reprinting these rare issues? And what could they sell them for? No dealer or collector is going to pay
fancy prices for reprints or official imitations. If money is what a Postal Administration is after, then it makes more
sense to design and issue new sets of stamps aimed at the philatelic market.
No, dear friends, the reprint bogey can be safely ignored. On the contrary, members should make sure now to com-
plete their sets of this period and, in fact, right up to the currency reform of January 1961. Printings were small
and the unused stamps will never be common, regardless of the fluctuations in catalog values. As it is, this material
is slowly trickling back to the USSR in a variety of ways. Whenever the ruble becomes a fully convertible currency,
and that may be sooner than many of us now think, that trickle will turn into a flood, going east. Enough said I
FREDERIC W. SPEERS
Our esteemed member, a Director of the Society and a noted authority on Zemstvo issues, airmails and the Romanov
Tercentenary set, passed away on Friday, 30 July 1971, at the Palomar Memorial Hospital in California at the age of 65.
Fred graduated from Stanford University in 1928 and spent many years in the newspaper field, working on "The Den-
ver Post," "The Wyoming State Tribune," "The Daily Bulletin" in North Platte, Nebr. and "The Daily Times Advocate"
in Escondido, Calif. of which he was a co-founder in 1947.
We are indebted to Lester S. Glass of Los Angeles, Calif. for the first news of his death. To say that we here in New
York City were shocked is to put it mildly. A more sincere and fine person one could hardly hope to meet. He con-
tributed generously to the Society's finances at times when help was badly needed. His selfless actions proved the
old proverb that "a friend in need is a friend indeed." His passing is a great loss to the Society and to Russian
Philately as a whole.
THE RUSSIAN POSTAL SERVICES IN BULGARIA DURING 1877-1879
by D. N. Minchev
I dedicate this modest work to my father,
Nikola Minchev Abadzhiev (1874-1946), a
pioneer of the philatelic movement in
Constanta, Rumania and who inspired me
to appreciate historiography and philately.
D. N. Minchev
The activities of the two Russian Postal Services during 1877-79, not only in Bulgaria but also in Rumania have
attracted the attention of postal history specialists for a long time. Their work in this area, which had stressed an
informative character, was in essence based on isolated, fragmentary and therefore sparse data, as well as on factual
material in the form of letters, postcards etc. which it had been possible to have at hand. On some occasions, the
literature was even replete with conjectures and suggestions. The reason for this state of affairs was that the said
authors, mainly enthusiasts and investigators, did not seek out contemporary works, articles and official documents
delineating in an indisputable manner the establishment and operations of the two Postal Services in question in the
relevant countries.' However, in spite of all that, we must give these pioneer authors their due, since their contribu-
tion is not without meaning.
An important basis in the establishment of a solid foundation and inducement for further investigation of this prob-
lem is the first in the six-volume work on the Russian Post Offices Abroad, by the eminent specialists Tchilinghirian
and Stephen, in which quite a lot of space is set aside to the activities of the Russian Posts in Bulgaria during that
period of time.2 The valuable monograph by S. V. Prigara, in which a few pages are devoted to this question, should
also be noted.3 Other work, this time on a scientific basis, has been carried out by Bulgarian authors in two different
directions. In an article by Maria G. Manolova, she limits herself to pointing out the contribution of the Russian
Provisional Civilian Administration to the founding of postal services in Bulgaria, bringing to the fore the basic con-
ditions related to this task.4 Simultaneously with that article, our own study has appeared, delineating the operations
of the Russian Field Postal Service in Bulgaria and including also the work of the Russian Civilian Postal Service dur-
ing that period.5 These two publications of a strictly investigatory character, and with a series of findings presented
for the first time, contribute to a noticeable extent to the enrichment of our knowledge of this question up to this
point in time.
In any case, everything published so far has given the impression, upon more thorough analysis, that it was insufficient
and that more could be said about this subject to bring about definite completeness.
Bearing this in mind, we persistently continued searching and we recently had the opportunity of studying a large
portion of the archives of the Russian Postal Administration in Bulgaria during 1877-79, as well as other hitherto un-
tapped material, which have shed additional light on this problem.6 All this work has categorically brought about
inevitable and important corrections to what has been written so far, e.g. the opening dates for postal establishments,
their number, which of them were first provided with dated and other markings, their locations along the organized
routes, etc. We are basing our present investigation mainly on this previously untouched archival material, aiming at
bringing forward, in a quite new and scientifically well-gounded basis, the operations of the Russian Postal Services in
Bulgaria, including Eastern Roumelia and also Rumania, from the second half of 1877 until the end of 1879, when
they terminated their work.7
The beginnings of the Russian Postal Services in Bulgaria may be traced as far back as 1876, i.e. before the declara-
tion of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. On 16/28 Nov. 1876, the service, which had just been set up at the
G.H.Q. of the army on active service in the Balkans for the Civilian Administration in the Bulgarian lands soon to be
liberated, received detailed instructions for its future work. Prince Vladimir Cherkasskii, known for his organizing
ability, was appointed its director. Major-General D. G. Anuchin, with the reputation of a good administrator, was
assigned as his assistant. The Russian Civilian Administration, which numbered 40 officers in its ranks, was militar-
ized to the last degree. This situation may be explained by the fact that it was in direct subordination to the Army
As is well known, the Russian forces breached the Danube on the night of 14-15/26-27 June 1877 and entered
Bulgaria near the town of Svishtov. This happened only four days after the army corps under General Zimmerman
demonstratively crossed the Danube in the north-western section of the Dobrudja, between Galatz (Galati) and Braila
and liberated the first localities. With the gradual liberation of Bulgarian territory, the Civilian Administration was
then able to assume its role. On 31 July/12 August 1877, the authority for establishing administrative work in the
territory was vested in Prince Cherkasskii, the Director of the Civilian Administration, by a special mandate of the
G.H.Q. of the army on active service. In article No. 2 of the mandate, there is mention, among other things, of en-
suring as far as possible, on the part of the Administration, the setting up of proper postal communications relating
to the conveyance of the mails and also, where possible, of persons traveling on official business.9
The organization and opening of postal communications was expedited. Major-General Stahl had now presented at
G.H.Q. a plan concerning this question. In letter No. 7768 of 17/29 June 1877, Adjutant-General A. A. Nepokoichit-
skii, Chief of the Army Staff, informed Cherkasskii of his views relating to this particular proposal. The main points
were as follows:
(1) It was not necessary that postal links between T'rnovo and the Danube be placed in the hands of the military.
(2) "The establishment of the postal routes" in the said territory and subsequently also in other areas where per-
manent military communications had been set up, as well as their maintenance, should be transferred into the hands
of the Civilian Administration. In such an eventuality, only the postal communications in the localities taken by ad-
vance units of the army and where the Civilian Administration had not yet been established, were to be left to the
care of the military.10
On 13/25 July 1877, Cherkasskii presented at G.H.Q. the final form of General Stahl's plan. In the report which
accompanied the plan, Cherkasskii substantially pointed out the importance of and pressing need to set up communi-
cations between T'rnovo and the Danube, as well as the advantages of this first postal project in Bulgaria. Two weeks
later, on 28 July/9 August 1877, Colonel L. Sobolev of the Army Staff approved this particular plan. A series of
measures envisaged in it were sufficient to ensure, in the first instance, the regular and proper maintenance of postal
communications on liberated Bulgarian territory, both for the army as a whole and in looking after the interests of
the public. In this manner, Cherkasskii established in July the foundations for regular civilian postal services.1
Meanwhile, in a telegram from T'rnovo dated 20 July 187711ato the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg,
Prince Cherkasskii sought the urgent despatch of "postmasters" VI. Trubacheev of Smolensk and Konst. Radchenko
of Kovno (Kaunas in Lithuania), in connection with the establishment of the postal service in Bulgaria. Moreover, he
asked for 400 horses with drivers to maintain the routes, as well as suitable employees required for the initial two
offices and ten medical stations intended for the changing of horses.12 However, the Director of the Civilian Admin-
istration was not satisfied just with that. In letter No. 709 from T'rnovo and dated 28 July 1877, sent to Count
V. V. Levashev in Odessa, Cherkasskii set out in detail his plan for establishing postal communications and asked for
Levashev's cooperation in fulfilling the tasks that had been imposed.13
Cherkasskii was informed by the Postal Department in St. Petersburg that the required two persons, Trubacheev and
Radchenko, had been sent off for the establishment of the mails in Bulgaria.14
On 30 August 1877, they arrived at Gorna Studena, where the G.H.Q. was situated. Prince Cherkasskii, in
memorandum No. 61 of 24 Sept., sent to the C.i.C. of the Army, urged that Trubacheev and Radchenko be
appointed as the officials responsible for postal affairs in Bulgaria.15 Five days later on 29 Sept., Prince Cherkasskii
in another memo under No. 67, sent to the C.i.C., asked that Trubacheev's designation be upgraded to "Director
of Postal Services" and that Radchenko remain in the Office of the Civilian Administration in order to work out
the problems of the Postal Administration as they arose.16
On 3 Sept. 1877, Prince Cherkasski and Colonel Sobolev sent three separate letters, with identical contents, to the
Governors performing their duties at Svishtov (Sistov, under letter No. 904) and at T'rnovo (letter No. 905), as well
as to Trubacheev and Radchenko (letter No. 906) to the effect that several officials had been sent from Svishtov to
Gabrovo so as to become familiar with the situation there regarding the opening of postal communications and ask-
ing that they be extended the necessary cooperation. 17
The period from the end of October into the beginning of Nov. 1877 is full of details regarding the carrying out of
measures linked with the organization of the Postal Service, a clear and complete outline emerging during the first
days of December. The requested inventory, postage stamps and stationery and 320 horses with all necessities had
arrived from Russia.18 Trubacheev, who had been sent off to set up this operation, returned on 18 Oct. 1877 with
the last echelon of horses and carts.19 The regular independent work of the Postal Administration in Bulgaria began
on 10 Nov. 1877.2
The newspaper "B'lgarin" (The Bulgarian) in its issue No. 10 for 9 Nov. 1877 published a special article under the
title of "The Posts in Bulgaria," relating to the measures taken for setting up the Civilian Postal Service in Bulgaria.
Because of its interesting contents, we quote this article in full hereunder:
"In addition to all the trouble that the Russian Government is taking for us Bulgarians, the Postal Service is now
being established and will be located at all liberated places along the way for various classes of mail regarding the
despatch of money, packages, letters and newspapers. First of all, seventeen postal stations, with a sufficient number
of officials and horses, will be organized. We are most grateful to Prince Cherkasskii, the Director-General of the
area, for this fortunate occurence in Bulgaria and as a consequence of this idea also to K. Radchenko, trained and
experienced in this work, who is concerning himself with setting up these postal services. Apart from the officials
called in from Russia, many Bulgarians who have received an education are being assigned to this service and will
adapt themselves easily to this occupation and in general distinguish themselves by their capacity to serve."21
A series of steps were undertaken to establish direct links with the Rumanian Postal Administration. With this in
view, Trubacheev asked Cherkasskii in telegram No. 323, dated 18 Nov. 1877 to telegraph the Director of the
Rumanian Posts that the office at Svishtov had begun operations, with the receipt and forwarding of correspondence
to take place via "the Rumanian office at Zimnitsa (Zimnicea), on the basis of the convention."22 In a telegram sent
on 27 Nov. 1877 to Adjutant-General Drentel in Bucharest, it was arranged that he notify the Rumanian Postal
Administration of the above matter.23
In letter No. 159 for 20 Dec. 1877 from the Postal Administration in Bulgaria to the office at Svishtov, it was
noted that Prince Cherkasskii permitted the conveyance of military mail to take place with the station horses of the
Civilian Administration; moreover that (horse) stations had been set up at Svishtov, Zimnitsa (Zimnicea in Rumania),
Gorna Studena, B'lgarene, Pordim and from there to Bokhot, as well as to Pavlovo, Byala, Kochina, T'rnovo, Drya-
novo and Gabrovo; that the speed limit for carts should be 10 versts per hour (6-2/3 mph) on highways, 8 versts per
hour (5-1/3 mph) on tarred roads and 6 versts per hour (4 mph) on mountain roads and that there would be a charge
of 20 centimes per verst per horse. The distribution of horses along these stations and the manner in which post
horses were to be released for the needs of the Field Postal Service were also noted.24
Towards the end of Dec. 1877, V. Trubacheev, in his report No. 171, dated 22 Dec. and sent to the Director of the
Civilian Administration, pointed out that the experience gained in the month since postal communications were
opened in Bulgaria confirmed the difficulty of finding people as station supervisors; that each station had been pro-
vided with postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps, postcards and the necessary forms, all in accordance
with recommendation No. 2084 of 13 Dec. 1877; that mail boxes would be set up and that the station supervisors
would be replaced by Bulgarians etc. Trubacheev, in this report, made a series of proposals for work improvement,
and so on.25
Another letter under No. 2218 of 24 Dec. 1877, bearing the signature of General D. Anuchin, who had appointed
on 20 Dec. as Director of the Postal Division of the Civilian Administration, gave a series of instructions and delin-
eated the work of the Civilian Postal Service in the country. Among other things, it was noted in the letter that all
possible assistance be rendered the military for the conveyance of mail and that they should not be impeded; that
service be initiated for the acceptance of ordinary mail and the sale of postage stamps at all stations and it designa-
ted the opening of post offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and an agency at Gabrovo.26
On 18 Dec. 1877, Anuchin prepared a detailed "Report on the first steps taken for managing postal affairs in Bul-
garia," entered under No. 2098 on 20 Dec. 1877 at the Office of the Civilian Administration. In it, Anuchin gives
recommendations about the manner in which the mails should be established in Bulgaria, with regard to their finan-
cing, operations, etc. We find on the white margins of the same report handwritten comments by Cherkasskii, dated
19 Dec. and noting that, at the beginning of the same month, twelve stations were working, eleven of them with 20-
30 horses at their disposal and the final one, at the village of Pavlovo, having 40 horses. The names of these particu-
lar stations were B'lgarene, Byala, Dryanovo, Gabrovo, Gorna Studena, Kochina, Pavlovo, Pordim, Svishtov, T'rnovo,
Tsarevets and Zimnicea (this last one in Rumania). Post offices were opened at Svishtov and T'rnovo and a postal
agency at Gabrovo. At these three places, all classes of correspondence and parcels were accepted, both for domestic
and foreign despatch.27 In these three towns, their actual postal functions, as we would understand them today, were
brought forward from the spring of 1878 to 27 Nov. 1877, according to official data. The acceptance of remittances
and parcels started on 11 Feb. 1878, with a few temporary interruptions due to unforeseen circumstances and was
revived on 28 March 1878.28
The Provisional Civilian Administration, for its part, took steps in due course to ensure the maintenance of postal
communications by finding suitable persons, mainly from the ranks of German colonists living in the southern regions
of Russia. It went to great lengths in this regard, which we find reflected in a file comprising 119 sheets in all:
letters, telegrams, drafts etc., dating between August 1877 and March 1878.29
By 18 July 1878, one of these Germans, Jakob Alexander Schneuer by name, was already in T'rnovo and had presen-
ted a request whereby he offered his services for maintaining communications "in Rumania, Bulgaria and Turkey."30
We have found the draft of an agreement with 22 articles, on the basis of which German colonists from Odessa prov-
ince were to ensure postal communications in Bulgaria.31
In letter No. 414 from Kishinev, dated 19 Aug. 1877 and addressed to Cherkasskii, the Governor of Bessarabia rec-
ommended Constantine Alexander Roussos as a postal contractor for Bulgaria, as he had already established and
maintained postal communications in Bessarabia in "an exemplary manner."32 We find the same recommendation for
the same person from the Provincial Leader of the Bessarabian Gentry.33 From the transcript of an agreement dated
23 Sept. 1877, concluded between Count VI. Levashev and the German colonists, Jakob Otto and Johann Spee, we
learn of their ensuring the maintenance of postal communications for a term of six months between Zimnicea and
Svishtov to T'rnovo, from T'rnovo to Gabrovo, as well as along other routes in Bulgaria, in accordance with instruc-
tions given in advance. The details of the conditions are set out in ten articles.34
On 23 Sept. 1877, Trubacheev was already in Odessa, where he concluded an agreement for a term of six months to
despatch the necessary drivers, horses and covered wagons for the maintenance of postal communications in Bulgaria.35
The first official schedule was of a temporary character, as noted above and it designated the number of employees
and assignees attached to the Office of the Civilian Administration in Bulgaria. It was signed by Cherkasskii and
appropriately ratified on 25 Sept. 1877 by the C.i.C. (Grand Duke) Nikolai Nikolaevich at the village of Gorna Studena.
It is interesting to note the number of people for this preliminary staffing of the Postal Service in Bulgaria, as well as the
job categories. 36
Director of the Postal Service 1
Official with special qualifications 1
Assistant Secretary 1
Assistant Postmaster 1
Receiving Clerk 1
This small number of employees was apparently intended to satisfy initial requirements only. At the beginning,
Russian specialists were appointed to head and hold the more important positions. However, the Civilian Administra-
tion also sought at the same time to enlist Bulgarians in the above positions so as to assume postal affairs in the near
As we have already mentioned elsewhere, Prince Cherkasskii, in his memo No. 63 of 24 Sept. 1877, noted the neces-
sity of appointing Bulgarians to the postal stations being opened in the country as they "know the local language."37
It appears from a report by K. Radchenko, dated 20 Nov. 1877 that 38 officials assigned from Russia had been ap-
pointed for postal needs, as well as three Bulgarians, namely P. Viskovski, Ivan Bogorov and Angel D. Orukin.38 We
encounter Orukin's name in the payrolls for Nov. and Dec. 1877.39 We also find the names of many other Bulgarians
in the lists of employees in the Postal Administration in Bulgaria, which lists were prepared in connection with their
being presented with medals in memory of the War of 1877-78.40 In report No. 171 for 22 Dec. 1877 already refer-
red to in regard to the results of the first month of mail operations, there is a note about replacing the station super-
visors with Bulgarians.4'
The transfer at the end of April 1879 of postal and telegraphic stations into the hands of the new Bulgarian Admin-
istration was highlighted in turn by the Bulgarian staff already formed and a few Russian officials, who had remained
to work in Bulgaria.
In connection with mail operations, it followed that appropriate regulations be prepared for its activities. We find a
scheme for this purpose in an undated rough draft entitled "Plan for normal postal services in Bulgaria" and consist-
ing of 25 points.42 Another rough draft, also undated and under the same title, was located with the plan now in a
revised form.43 We see the first steps for regulating the activities of the Russian Civilian Postal Service in Bulgaria in
these two plans. Since the documents are sewn in prior to those dated 24 Sept. 1877, we believe that if we relate
them to that date, we will not be far from reality. This particular plan was subjected to careful scrutiny and, as a
consequence, it bore a series of changes and additions. That must have taken a lot of time since only thus can the
fact be explained that only at the beginning of Dec. 1877 did the plan assume its final form, with the regulations
consolidated into only 14 paragraphs.
Now under the new title of "Temporary Regulations for the Postal Service in Bulgaria" with the signatures of
Cherkasskii, Colonel Sobolev and Radchenko, a copy of it was sent with letter No. 2057 of 12 Dec. 1877 to
the Field Staff of the army on active service.44 Another copy was despatched by letter No. 2087 of 13 Dec.
to VI. Trubacheev, the Director of the Postal Division, for his information and guidance.45 The full text of the rules,
which for the most part were consistent with and conformed to the needs of the army, was also published in the
"Flying Military Leaflet," organ of the Russian Army on the Danube-Balkan Front.6
Timely measures were taken to equip the postal stations, which had been opened, with everything necessary for
In a memo dated 12 Sept. 1877 from Radchenko to Cherkasskii, a proposal was made that postal items and other
material be requested from the Postal Department in St. Petersburg, being required for the impending operations of
two offices and one agency being opened.47 These items were asked for in a telegram dated 16 Sept. 1877. The
Postal Department tried to fulfill Cherkasskii's request on an urgent basis and in letter No. 16519 of 20 Sept. signed
by Baron Velyo, he notified the Director of the Civilian Administration in Bulgaria of the despatch of the required
material, the inventory list of which was attached to the above letter. It is apparent from this particular list that
breastplate markings, cap insignia, scales, postal circulars of 1870-1877, lead seals, cancellers, specimens of notices
intended for the public, tables for computing distances, cancelling ink, trunks, satchels, registers, forms, a book of
postal rates and many other items had been sent, 81 in all.48 These items arrived around the middle of October
1877 and initially satisfied all the requirements of the two post offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and the agency at
In letter No. 1659 of 1 Nov. 1877 from the Civilian Administration to Trubacheev in Svishtov, it is stated that in
accordance with the attached inventory list dated 18 Oct., the requirements were being despatched for the offices at
Svishtov and T'rnovo and the Gabrovo agency. Twenty eight different articles are noted in this list.49 A little later,
on 10 and 13 Nov. 1877, mail boxes, cancellers, postage stamps, postcards and stamped envelopes were forwarded
to these same offices.51 According to the rough draft of another undated list which we have assigned to the end of
November, we find out about items having been sent out, among them a mail box for each of two newly opened
offices and one postal agency, as well as for the stations at B'lgarene, Byala, Dryanovo, Gabrovo, Gorna Studena,
Kochina, Pavlovo, Pordim, Svishtov, T'rnovo, Tsarevets, and Zimnicea.52
The striking impression is gained that a quite lively correspondence was carried out over a period of three months
from October to December 1877 inclusive, about the question of supplying the stations with mail boxes. In his
memo of 15 Sept. 1877, Radchenko proposed to Cherkasskii that the construction and placement of mail boxes be
permitted before the entrances of the stations. They were to be painted in olive-green, with the outline of a letter
drawn on them and the inscription "Mail box for letters" in Russian and Bulgarian. On 18 Oct. 1877, we read
Cherkasskii's comment: "agreed."53 There is word about the necessity for mail boxes, among other things, in yet
another report by Radchenko to Cherkasskii, dated 20 Nov. 1877, entered under No. 1848 on 22 Nov. 1877. In
this report, he again suggested that all notices be written in Russian and Bulgarian.54 In a letter by Cherkasskii at
the village of Bokhot under No. 2084, dated 13 Dec. 1877 and sent to Trubacheev, the Director of the Postal Divi-
sion, there is also mention of the necessity of putting the letters into the mail boxes, so that they be delivered.55 In
report No. 171 of 22 Dec. 1877 by Trubacheev to Cherkasskii, in which the results of the first month's activities of
the postal stations are set out, there is a note once again, among other things, about placing mail boxes at newly
At the same time, measures were taken for opening up the necessary credits to meet the expenses of equipping the
stations. In telegram No. 1194, the date for which is missing on the draft, but which we assume to be from the
middle of Nov. 1877, Trubacheev asked Cherkasskii to permit an initial expenditure of 250 gold rubles, with a view
to buying office equipment relating to the establishment of the Postal Administration, post offices and stations.57 In
a telegram from the village of Bokhot, dated 19 Nov. 1877 to the Governor at Svishtov, Cherkasskii arranged that
Trubacheev be informed that he had at his disposal a credit of 400 rubles for the expenses in question.58 It is
apparent from an account dated 19 Nov. for the disbursement of the above credit that the offices at Svishtov and
T'rnovo and the Gabrovo agency were allotted 60 rubles each and the stations 10 rubles each.59 From another bill dated
26 Dec. 1877, it appears that the sum of 10 rubles was allotted to each of the stations at Akandzhilar, Karagach, Lovech,
Novo Selo, Setovo and Sevlievo.60
We find receipts for the disbursement of these sums at the following places: at the Gabrovo agency for the stations
at Akandzhilar, Gabrovo, Lovech, Setovo and Sevlievo;61 at the T'rnovo office for the stations at Byala, Kochina,
Pavlovo and T'rnovo,62 Zimnicea,63 Karagach64 and Gorna Studena.65
By 24 Sept. 1877, Cherkasskii was proposing in memo No. 63 to the C.i.C. that, among other things, postal routes
be opened between Zimnicea (in Rumania), Svishtov, T'rnovo and Gabrovo.66 The Director of the Postal Division,
in instruction No. 17 of 16 Nov. 1877 to the office at Svishtov, arranged for the despatch of an official personage
who was to concern himself with the opening of postal communications in the Svishtov province in the direction of
the besieged town of Pleven. On 20 Nov. 1877, Ivan Protopopov, mail sorter at the Svishtov office, observed in his
report that, as a consequence of the above instruction, postal communications had been established between Tsarevets,
Gorna Studena, B'lgarene and Pordim.67
We learn from a report by Radchenko, dated 20 Nov. 1877 and sent to Cherkasskii, entered under No. 1848 on 22
Nov., that communications had been opened on 17 Nov. between Zimnicea and Svishtov and on 18 Nov. between
Tsarevets, Pavlovo, Byala, Gorna Studena, B'lgarene and Pordim and that others would be opened thereafter. The
fee payable for the conveyance of a person by postal carts was to be 20 centimes per verst (2/3 mile) per horse.68
In a telegram by Trubacheev at Svishtov to Cherkasskii at Bokhot, entered at the Office of the Civilian Administra-
tion under No. 330 on 19 Nov. 1877, it is stated that postal communications between Zimnicea and Svishtov were
already open, that "the route to Byala and Pordim will probably be opened today" and that officials had been sent
with appropriate instructions to open up further stations.69 In another three telegrams by Trubacheev to Cherkasskii
(entry Nos. 332, 335 and 338 for 20 Nov. 1877), there is information on the opening of postal communications
between Tsarevets, Gorna Studena, B'lgarene and Pordim; between Kochina and T'rnovo and between Pavlovo and
Byala.70 Again in a telegram by Trubacheev at Svishtov, dated 21 Nov. 1877 and sent to Cherkasskii at Bokhot, we
learn that a postal link had already been opened with "the last stations of Dryanovo and Gabrovo." 71 In letter No.
58 with date 12 Jan. 1878 from the Svishtov office and sent to the station at Pleven, it is stated in paragraph No. 2
that the Director of the Postal Division in Bulgaria had announced by his letter No. 159 of 20 Cec. 1877 the opening
of postal communications between Svishtov, Zimnicea, Gorna Studena, B'lgarene, Pordim and from there to Bokhot,
as well as to Pavlovo, Kochina, Byala, T'rnovo, Dryanovo and Gabrovo.72
There is also word about the first routes that were set up, in order No. 206 by the Chief of Staff, Adjutant-General
Nepokoichitskii, dated 16 Dec. 1877 and stating the following:
"The Director of the Civilian Administration attached to the Grand Duke (Nikolai Nikolaevich), C.i.C. of the Army,
has notified that by permission of His Highness, postal communications have been set up in Bulgaria along the
following routes -
(1) From Zimnicea via Svishtov, Tsarevets and Pavlovo to Byala.
(2) From Pavlovo via Kochina, T'rnovo and Dryanovo to Gabrovo.
(3) From Svishtov via Tsarevets, Gorna Studena and B'lgarene to Pordim.
(4) From Svishtov via Zimnicea to the hamlet of Brigadiru in Rumania.
In announcing this to the forces of the army on active service, I deposit the constituent rules for postal communica-
tions in Bulgaria in the Office of Civilian Affairs for appropriate guidance."73
There is information about these routes in issue No. 34 for 8 Feb. 1878 of the newspaper "B'lgarin." 74
We have also found in these archives diagrams and plans of the first postal routes established in Bulgaria in the last
three months of 1877. Unfortunately, they are not dated but judging from other known data, we would be able to
assign them with certainty to around the end of Nov. 1877. We regard as the first of them the plan entitled "Dia-
gram of the existing routes and stations, in which the communications between the stations of Brigadiru,75 Zimnicea,
Svishtov, Tsarevets, Gorna Studena, B'lgarene, Pordim, Pavlovo, Byala, Kochina, T'rnovo, Dryanovo and Gabrovo" 76
are noted. We regard as the second plan the version entitled "Diagram of postal traffic along the routes between
Zimnicea and Gabrovo, Pavlovo and Byala and also between Tsarevitsa and Paradim." The offices, agencies and
stations for changing horses are marked on it with special signs. This second plan is also interesting in that it bears
the signatures of K. Radchenko and VI. Trubacheev.77 In another diagramatic plan entitled "A draft of the proposed
stations in the territory of Bulgaria," the following stations are noted: B'lgarene, Byala, Dryanovo, Gabrovo, Gorna
Studena, Karagach, Kochina, Lovech, Nikopol, Ovcha Mogila, Pavlovo, Pleven, Sevlievo, Svishtov and Tsarevets.78
We have also found another interesting plan, entitled "Diagram of the postal establishments in Bulgaria" and signed
by Trubacheev,79 which we believe to date from Dec. 1877.80 It is similar in that the offices, agencies and stations
are also specified on it with special signs. It can also be clearly seen from it that the station of Novo Selo is situated
between T'rnovo and Sevlievo, but not south-west of Sevlievo and west of Shipka, as noted by Tchilinghirian and
Stephen.81 Because of the lack of documentation up to now, it was so indicated also by other authors, basing them-
selves on the work just referred to.
One of the urgent tasks of the Russian Postal Administration in Bulgaria was also that of providing the offices and
agencies with the necessary quantities of postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps and postcards with and
without imprinted stamp.
We have already mentioned the memorandum of 12 Sept. 1877 by K. Radchenko regarding the supply of the rele-
vant postal items, which supply was closely linked with the beginning of operations of the post offices and agencies.
In connection with this matter, the text of a telegram was also prepared on the same day, to be sent off to the
Postal Department in St. Petersburg. There was a request in it for 15,000 envelopes with imprinted stamps, 6000
postcards and stamps in the values of 1 kop. (5000), 2 & 3 kop. (3000 each), 8 kop. (15,000), 10 kop. (5000) and
20 kop. (3000).82 This particular telegram was sent on 20 Sept. 1877 under No. 154 and bore the signature of
Cherkasskii.83 An affirmative reply followed very quickly in the form of a telegram from Baron Velyo dated 23
Sept. 1877.4 In letter No. 16613, the date of which is illegible but which we can, in all probability, attribute to
around Oct. 1877,85 the Postal Department advised the Civilian Administration that in connection with the latter's
telegram of 20 Sept., the following items were being sent:
(1) 23,000 "stamped envelopes," in the values of 8 kop. (15,000), 10 kop. (5000) and 20 kop. (3000).
(2) 26,000 postage stamps, in the values of 1 kop. (5000), 2 & 3 kop. (3000 each) and 8 kop. (15,000).
(3) 6000 postcards of 4 kop. value.
These postal items were received and, in accordance with the inventories enclosed with the documents, dated 10 Nov.
1877, they were distributed as follows:
(a) TO THE POST OFFICE AT SVISHTOV: 20 kop. envelopes 1000 pieces (86): The quantities of 8 and 10
kop envelopes are not given.
Postage Stamps: 2500 copies of 1 kop.; 1300 copies each of 2 & 5 kop.; 1000 copies of 8 kop. value.
Postcards: 3000 pieces.87
(b) TO THE POST OFFICE AT T'RNOVO: 8 kop. envelopes 4000 pieces; 10 & 20 kop. envelopes 1000 pieces
Postage Stamps: 1500 copies of 1 kop.; 1000 copies each of 2 & 5 kop.; 3000 copies of 8 kop. value.
Postcards: 2000 pieces.88
(c) TO THE AGENCY AT GABROVO: 8 kop. envelopes the quantity given is illegible; 10 & 20 kop. envelopes -
1000 pieces each;
Postage Stamps: 1000 copies of 1 kop.; 700 copies each of 2 & 5 kop.; 200 copies of 8 kop.89
Postcards: 1000 pieces.90
These postal items were also distributed to all stations that had facilities for changing horses. This is apparent from
letter No. 2084, dated 13 Dec. 1877, from Cherkasskii to the Director of the Postal Division in Bulgaria, in which
a series of other directions are also given.91 In a report by Trubacheev under No. 171 of 28 Dec. 1877 to the C.i.C.,
there is a note, among other things, that envelopes, stamps and postcards had already been distributed to each station,
in accordance with the earlier schedule given under No. 2084.92
The problem of establishing the postal rates in Bulgaria was also settled at the same time, as we have seen. We have
at our disposal two documents in this regard. These are in the form of reports by Cherkasskii at the village of Gorna
Studena, under Nos. 62 and 63, dated 24 Sept. 1877.93 The beginning of the first memorandum starts as follows:
"In order to expedite to the utmost the opening of post offices in Bulgaria, I deem it necessary that rates be estab-
lished for sending mail from Bulgarian offices and that they correspond with the rates of the International Conven-
tion (U.P.U.) and of neighboring countries, which I regard as completely suitable. I ask that the transmission of
written and all other classes of mail be modelled on similar services existing in Russia ."" Later on, in connection
with this matter, Cherkasskii requested that he be sent envelopes with imprinted stamps, stamps and cards, etc. The
Commander-in-Chief placed his handwritten comment "I concur" on this memorandum. In his second memo, No. 63,
Cherkasskii again noted among other things that the postal rates be the same as those also applied in Russia. It was
in this manner that Russian postal rates were introduced into Bulgaria.
It is very natural that the difficulties initially encountered, being of exclusively unavoidable character, were very
great, as with every such undertaking. As a result of the dreadful state of affairs inherited from "the woeful Turkish
Posts,"95 it followed that many basic problems had to be overcome.
We find out from the lengthy letter of Trukacheev, No. 83 of 9 Dec. 1877 to Cherkasskii (entered under No. 2077 on
15 Dec. 1877), the reasons for which "the post offices in Bulgaria cannot begin their work at the present time and
how the difficulties should be eliminated." The main reason was the lack of leather articles such as trunks, etc., the
limited amount of personnel, the manner in which the mail was conveyed from Zimnicea to Bulgaria, especially that
destined for soldiers, the complexity of interrelationship between the civilian and military post offices and the opera-
tional difficulties of the Svishtov office. It was for this reason Trubacheev proposed that an additional number of
postal officials be assigned in order to facilitate the work with the troops, that mail for Russia should not now be
sent via Ungeni but per the Bendery-Galatz railroad, etc.96 The despatch of mail from Russia to the army on active
service in European Turkey via the border post office of Ungeni on the Russo-Rumanian frontier took place on the
basis of a special directive of the Postal Department in 1877.97 In yet another letter by Trubacheev, already men-
tioned under No. 171 for 22 December 1877 and addressed to Cherkasskii, there is word in general about the state
and operations of the post offices.98
There are two similar letters from General Anuchin devoted to the problems of improving and extending postal
operations in Bulgaria, written from the village of Bokhot and both dated 24 Dec. 1877. The first under No. 2215
was destined for the Director of the Post and Telegraph Office at the Army General Staff and the second, under
No. 2217, to the Head of the Field Postal Administration. In these lengthy letters, it is noted, among other things,
that as a consequence of the arrival from Russia of a sufficient quantity of horses, which would make it possible to
render great assistance in the work of the Army Postal Service, it followed that new offices be opened at localities
indicated by the military, as far as circumstances would permit. We read in the same letters that the number of
postal stations under the Civilian Administration had increased to 17, namely with the opening of new stations at
Pleven, Setovo, Lovech, Akandzhilar and Sevlievo. Moreover, the station at Pordim was transferred to Karagach.
There is also mention of the number of horses at the stations of Gorna Studena, B'lgarene and newly-opened ones,
which were to be limited to 20 horses per station, except for the one at Pleven. General Anuchin also asked whether
the arrangements for opening the offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and the agency at Gabrovo had been carried out.
Ordinary official and private correspondence was to be accepted both at the offices and at all postal stations and a
start was also to be made where possible to accept money sending within the country.99
As we shall see later on, these questions of such varied character continued to occupy the attention of the relevant
departments of the Civilian and Field Postal Administrations in Bulgaria.
The work of the opening postal stations was strengthened by the establishment or projection of routes. These
facilities were in three clearly defined categories, which are very important to bear in mind:
(a) POST OFFICES. These were main directing stations, opened in provincial cities. They were managed by
"postmasters," who were tasked with controlling and directing postal activities in their areas. The offices per-
formed all postal functions as we know them today. They were provided with dated and other postmarkers.
(b) POSTAL AGENCIES. These were stations of the finest category, opened in more important towns of a given
province. As with the offices, the agencies also carried out all postal functions. They were supplied with
dated and other markings.
(c) POSTAL STATIONS. They only operated to change horses for the postal carts, being set up along the postal
routes. These stations did not carry out the usual postal duties. The more important ones were provided with
mail boxes and they also sold postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps and postcards. The correspond-
ence collected from the mail boxes was handed over to the cart drivers who stopped by, for further transmis-
sion, being cancelled at the office or agency to which it was presented. Some of them were later on elevated
to agencies because of rising demand. Only when this stage was reached were they provided with the corre,
spending date and other cancellers. We must emphasize here that only offices and agencies, which were desig-
nated as "postal establishments," performed all the customary postal duties, as we know them nowadays.
On 12 Sept. 1877, K. Radchenko, in a memorandum to Cherkasskii asked that items and material required for the
impending work of the two offices and one agency to be opened in Bulgaria be ordered from the Postal Department
in St. Petersburg. 100
In memo No. 60 for 24 Sept. 1877, Cherkasskii notified the C.i.C. Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich about the forth-
coming opening of 14 postal stations, 2 offices and 1 agency and that in connection with this the appointment of
the necessary personnel be proceeded with.'0o
In another memorandum of the same date under No. 63 he proposed the establishment of a postal route from
Zimnicea in Rumania via Svishtov and T'rnovo to Gabrovo. Eight stations were to be opened on this route, namely
at Dryanovo, Gabrovo, Kochina, Pavlovo, Svishtov, T'rnovo, Tsarevets and Zimnicea, as well as at Byala, Karagach,
Lovech, Nikopol, Ovcha Mogila and Sevlievo. These 14 stations, organized on 6 routes, were to be served by 400
horses. An office was to be opened, both at Svishtov and T'rnovo and an agency at Gabrovo, with the task of con-
veying and delivering ordinary and insured correspondence and parcels. Only Bulgarians were to be appointed to
the aforesaid stations, since they knew the local language. The postal rates were to be the same as those in Russia.
Also, 15,000 envelopes with imprinted stamps, 34,000 postage stamps in various denominations and 6000 postcards
were to be delivered as well as the necessary papers, forms, manuals, cancellers, etc. for operating the relevant
It is clearly apparent from the "Report on establishing the basis for managing postal affairs in Bulgaria" by General
Anuchin, dated 18 Dec. 1877 and mentioned elsewhere that there were 11 stations in all at the beginning of Decem-
ber in Bulgaria, namely the following: B'lgarene, Byala, Dryanovo, Gabrovo, Gorna Studena, Kochina, Pavlovo,
Pordim, Svishtov, Tsarevets and T'rnovo. There was also a station operating at Zimnicea, on the Rumanian bank of
the Danube, opposite Svishtov. The towns of Svishtov and T'rnovo had an office each, while Gabrovo had an agency
and all of them carried out the usual postal duties.103
It appears from a notice by the Administration of the Russian Military Posts and Telegraphs that a "telegraph-
ical" agency was opened at Pleven around the middle of December, which also took care of private correspondence. 104
In a report by General Anuchin dated 24 Dec. 1877, which has also been mentioned before, we learn that the
number of stations had grown to 16, with the one at Pordim being transferred to Karagach and five new ones being
opened at Akandzhilar, Lovech, Pleven, Setovo and Selvi (Sevlievo).105
However, we learn from yet another document that four more stations south of the Danube were opened at the end
of December, namely at Bokhot, '6 Nikopol,107 Novo Selo (situated between T'rnovo and Sevlievo) 108 and Ovcha
Apart from the one in the Rumanian township of Zimnicea, there was also a postal station to the northwest of it at
the hamlet of Brigadiru, connected with the despatch and receipt of letters to and from Bucharest.
In accordance with the official data mentioned above, the total number of postal stations set up by the Civilian Ad-
ministration by the end of 1877 had gone up to 20.
A. POSTAL STATIONS IN BULGARIA DURING 1877112
No. Name & Province Opening Date in 1877 Closing Date
1. Svishtov 17 Nov. 30 Apr. 1879
2. B'lgarene, Pleven 18 Nov. 22 Feb. 1878
3. Byala 18 Nov. thru March 1879
4. Gorna Studena, T'rnovo 18 Nov. 22 Feb. 1878
5. Kochina (now Kutsina), T'rnovo 18 Nov. thru March 1879
6. Pavlovo (now Pavel), T'rnovo 18 Nov. 22 Feb. 1878
7. Pordim, Pleven 18 Nov. thru 24 Dec. 1877,
then moved to Karagach
8. Tsarevets, T'rnovo 18 Nov. 22 Feb. 1878
9. T'rnovo 19 Nov. 30 Apr. 1879
10. Gabrovo 21 Nov. 30 Apr. 1879
11. Dryanovo 21 Nov. thru March 1879
12. Nikopol November 30 Apr. 1879
13. Ovcha Mogila, T'rnovo beginning of Dec. end Feb. 1878
14. Bokhot, T'rnovo 16 Dec. during Jan. 1878
15. Akandzhilar (now Petko 23 Dec. 1879?
16. Selvi (Sevlievo), Gabrovo 23 Dec. 30 Apr. 1879
17. Karagach (now Totleben), Pleven 24 Dec. end Feb. 1878
18. Lovech 24 Dec. beginning 1879
19. Setovo (now Slavyani), Lovech 24 Dec. 1879?
20. Pleven around 24 Dec. 30 Apr. 1879
21. Novo Selo, T'rnovo around 26 Dec. middle Feb. 1878
B. IN RUMANIA
1. Brigadiru 17 Nov. beginning Mar. 1878
2. Zimnitsa (now Zimnicea) 17 Nov. 11 March 1878
The dawning of the year 1878 noted new measures for the expansion and improvement of the operations of the
Civilian Mails. The work begun in 1877 had to be continued with the opening of new stations between the Stara
Planina range and the Danube and now also in the newly liberated localities in South Bulgaria. In connection with
this, it was necessary to open up new credits. This was the reason why Trubacheev canvassed Cherkasskii in his
letter No. 10 of 2 Jan. 1878 for the disbursement of a further 400 rubles for inventory and office expenses.113
The equipping of stations went on with items from stock. For instance, in letter No. 23 of 12 Jan. 1878 from the
agency at Gabrovo to the Postal Administration in Svishtov, it is stated that mail boxes for the stations at Akand-
zhilar, Lovech, Setovo and Sevlievo had been received.114 Moreover, in letter No. 832 for 27 April 1878, the Postal
Administration sent a new "tabela" (name plate) for the office at T'rnovo to replace the old one and it was to be
hung "in a prominent place.""11 It is apparent from telegram No. 1758 of April 1878, the day of which is illegible,
from the office at Ruse (Rustchuk) that various items were sent to the postal station at Shumen, including a mail
box.116 It also appears from a report No. 128 from Kazanl'k, dated 12 July 1878 that a mail box each was sent to
Novo Selo and Gabrovo.117
The composition of the work force continued to constitute a serious problem since only a few people had decided
to serve in the Postal Administration because of temporary difficulties. In his letter No. 239 of 12 Feb. 1878
Trubacheev raised with Cherkasskii the question of appointing Bulgarians.118 In letter No. 278 of 14 February 1878
from General Anuchin and Radchenko, there is word about the appointment of ten Bulgarians to the offices at
Svishtov and T'rnovo and the agency at Gabrovo.119 In another letter No. 315 of 16 Feb. 1878, there is confirma-
tion of the appointment, as from 1 Feb. 1878, of N. G. Babadzhov to the T'rnovo office and of G. Chr. Simov, N.
Iv. Kazandzhiev and D. Petrov to the agency at Gabrovo, all as postilions.120 But there were also many resignations.
On 10 April, Angel D. Orukin, a postilion at the T'rnovo office and one of the first Bulgarian postal employees,
asked that he be released from service.121 Three other postilions at T'rnovo made the same request on 22 April. 122
A T'rnovo postilion, N. Babadzhov, was discharged on his own volition on 14 August.123
There were Bulgarian employees also at the Svishtov office,124as well as at Berkovitsa, Lom and Vidin.125 We find
the names of quite a large number of Bulgarian postal employees in the documentation we have examined. 126 The
Postal Administration endeavored to have only Russians or Bulgarians appointed. A typical case in this regard is a
letter from Trubacheev, under No. 810 dated 26 April 1878 and addressed to the postmaster at T'rnovo, referring
to the appointment on the part of postal contractor Schemer of people of other nationalities and hoping it would
not "act to the detriment of postal affairs in Bulgaria." Trubacheev emphasized in this letter that his order be
strictly adhered to.127 In another letter, under No. 1125 of 10 Sept. 1878 from the office of the "Director of
Military Communications in Bulgaria" the point was made not to accept foreigners for work in the Postal
It is stated, in a report by Radchenko and Trubacheev in Jan. 1878 and presented to Cherkasskii (entered under No.
62 on 12 Jan.), that the following conditions were necessary for the complete organization of the mails in Bulgaria:
(1) The opening of services for accepting ordinary and official correspondence at each office by installing mail
boxes, as well as for their distribution to the stations at Byala, Lovech, Pleven and Sevlievo was to be entrusted to
the Postal Administration, which would open such services at the first opportunity. Operations for accepting ordin-
ary mail had already been initiated at Gabrovo, Svishtov and T'rnovo and that preparations were going forward there
to accept all classes of mail, it being soon possible to arrange for the conveyance of the post between Svishtov with
an escort of postilions.
(2) In connection with the successful realization of all this, it would be necessary to increase the number
of employees provided for in the original state schedule.
(3) It would be necessary to coordinate the movements of the civilian mails with those of the army postal
(4) It would be necessary to ppen up credits.
(5) Since the term of the postal contractors would expire on 14 April 1878, the necessary steps should be
taken to fix the date of the new tender.
The lengthy regional letter from the village of Bokhot, dated 31 Jan. 1878 and sent by the Civilian Administration
to the governors at Plovdiv, Ruse, Svishtov and T'rnovo may be explained by referring to the above proposals. There
is word in it, among other things, that the foundations of the postal organization in Bulgaria had already been laid
down, but because "of the present military events" the postal system also served the armed forces, although only
along the main routes, which linked the Danube with population centres where the main body of troops was situated.
Also, as far as devoting attention to the needs of each district, that was impossible for the time being. With a view
to preparing the preliminary plan for the complete establishment of the postal system, the following information
needed to be collected:
(a) Data on the existing mail services in the provinces, which had been mainly Turkish services and that where pos-
sible they should be indicated on the map of routes, the postal stations on them being denoted in detail.
(b) Where possible, the cost of maintaining them during the Turkish period was to be indicated.
(c) What were the conditions under which postilions and higher officials were appointed; whether Turks were pre-
ferred over Bulgarians or just selected at someone's discretion; and that a plan be drawn up together with a map for
the reestablishment of postal communications in every province in conformity with the local conditions.
In connection with all this, it was proposed, among other things, that:
(1) Above all, communications were to be opened only between provincial and regional towns in a province
and it was to be indicated where the mail was to be forwarded for neighboring provinces.
(2) Initially, the service was to be restricted only to the conveyance of ordinary official and private correspond-
ence, but later on, as far as circumstances would permit, to money and parcel sending, as well as to travelers.
(Articles Nos. 3 & 4 do not apply to postal matters)
(5) Postilions were to be appointed by selection from young men in the local population who would be liable
for the draft and thus present the possibility of finding good employees.130
On 21 April 1878, the services of the Postal Administration, with Trubacheev in charge, were transferred to T'rnovo
and all stations were notified of this by a special circular.131 At the end of 1878, it was moved to Adrianople (now
Edirne in Turkey), where the G.H.O. of the army was also situated.132
The question of postal routes continued to interest deeply the Postal Administration. In one of his lengthy personal
letters from Svishtov, dated 5 Feb. 1878, Trubacheev notified General Anuchin in detail about the state of the Posts
in Bulgaria and about other matters connected with this subject. He proposed the closing of the stations at B'lgarene,
Gorna Studena, Karagach, Pavlovo, Tsarevets and Zimnicea as not being necessary, as well as those on the Gabrovo-
Kazanl'k-Stara Zagora-Akbunar route. Trubacheev proposed that the road link between Ruse and Yambol should
pass through Byala and T'rnovo and from there via Elena, continuing towards Sliven and Yambol. Trubacheev also
suggested the opening of a second route from Ruse, via Svishtov, and Nikopol to Rakhovo (Oryakhovo) and a third
from Orkhanie to Svishtov. Staff and horses were necessary for all this. He also proposed the utilization of the
railroads from Ruse via Razgrad to Varna and from Yambol via Plovdiv to Adrianople to meet postal needs. And
while he asked for instructions and orders, Trubacheev stated at the end of his letter that the Postal Administration
would satisfy the needs of the population in that manner.133 In a telegram and letter from Svishtov, dated 14 and
15 Feb. respectively, Trubacheev suggested to Anuchin that because the Army Post Office had been moved from
Svishtov to Ruse, it was imperative that communications be opened between Svishtov and Ruse, and Ruse and Byala.134
General Anuchin permitted the opening of these routes as a matter of pressing urgency. 35 The Governor of Sofia,
P. Alabin, in letter No. 1000 of 9 April 1878 to the Postal Administration requested the establishment of postal
communications between Sofia and Pazardzhik.136 On 11 April 1878, General Nepokoichitskii in telegram No. 4757
asked the Director of the Civilian Administration about the possibility of opening postal communications between
Ruse and Kotel via Razgrad.137 As a result of this, General Anuchin, in telegram No. 253, asked Trubacheev to pre-
pare an appropriate report.138
In the written report by Trubacheev to the Imperial Commissioner in Bulgaria (Prince Dondukov), entered under No.
936 on 10 June 1878, we find out, among other things, about the closing of the Svishtov-Byala route, since Svishtov
was linked with Ruse by the Danube; also about the closing of the route between Kazanl'k and Yeni Zagra (Nova
Zagora), as a consequence of the opening of the direct route from Kazanl'k to Plovdiv. A route was also opened
between Pleven and Nikopol, since in this case Plovdiv was already linked to this Danubian city; by means of the
railroad and the Kotel Pass, a direct link existed between Ruse and Yambol; a new road linked Sofia with Pazardzhik
and another one joined Silistra with Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik (now the city of Tolbukhin).139 There is a note about
the establishment of the Silistra-Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik route also in letter No. 1059 of 12 June 1878.140 On 23
June, the horses for serving this particular route were already on hand. 141 The route was placed under the direction
of Ivan Korablev, the overseer at Silistra station.142 It is noted among other things in letter No. 2050 dated 30 June
1877 from the Army Staff at G.H.Q. in San Stefano that postal traffic had been opened between Silistra and Khad-
zhi Oglu Pazardzhik.143 It appears from memorandum No. 2, signed at Adrianople on 12 October 1878 by G. Vosh-
chenin, "the Director of the Postal Department" and substituting for Trubacheev who had gone back to Russia, that
General Krenke, director of military communications in Bulgaria, had proposed the closing of the Silistra-Khadzhi
Oglu Pazardzhik and Yeni Zagra-Dzhinal-Sliven-Yambol routes.144 At the same time, communications had already
been opened between Pleven and Nikopol.145 During the spring of 1878, the Governor of the province of Varna,
in his letter No. 706 of 29 Sept. 1878 notified the Department of Internal Affairs that a Bulgarian Filipov by name
and a "resident of Mangalia province" had agreed to set up postal communications between Balchik, Varna, Khadzhi
Oglu Pazardzhik and Mangalia.146 From a supplementary list attached to Directive No. 10383 of 30 October 1878,
which was enclosed with letter No. 10452 of 2 Nov. 1878 by the Postal Administration and sent to the Sofia post
office, we find data on the existing routes and stations as at that date, namely:
1. Yambol-Shumenski P't route: Yambol-Mokren-Kotel-Osman Pazar-Eski Dzhumaya-Bakhlar (now Albanovo)-
2. Yambol-Burgas route: Yambol-Karnobat-Aitos-Burgas.
3. Sofia-Tatar Pazardzhik: Sofia-Novi khan-Vakarel-lkhtiman-Vetren-Tatar Pazardzhik.
4. Adrianople-Kirk Kilise route: Adrianople-Khaskyoi-Kirk Kilise.147
It appears from a letter dated 6 Nov. 1878 that it was proposed to have postal traffic between Vidin and Lom go
In letter No. 3857 of 25 Nov. 1878 from the Governor at T'rnovo to the Russian Commissioner, the following routes
are noted as being in existence:
(a) T'rnovo-Novo Selo-Sevlievo
(b) T'rnovo-Dzhulyunitsa-Eilya Kyoi (now Polyane, T'rnovo province)-Osman Pazar (now Omurtag)149
In circular No. 5040 of 13 Dec. 1878, addressed to the governors in the country, there is information about the
opening of the following new routes:
(2) Sofia-Orkhanie (now Botevgrad)-Pleven
(3) Sevlievo-T'rnovo-Osman Pazars50
We learn from letter No. 1976 of 21 Dec. 1878 from the Postal Administration that new routes had already been
opened on 16 December from Sofia to Lom and Vidin.151
In connection with the opening and closing of stations, the Russian Administration worked methodically and steadily,
as we have already seen, and also prepared the necessary plans with more and more clarification. Thus we find an
individual diagram for winter routes leading from:
(a) Pleven to Setovo, Lovech, Akandzhilar, Sevlievo to Gabrovo,
(b) Zimnicea to Svishtov, Novigrad (now Novgrad, Ruse province) and Byala.
(c) Ruse to Tr'stenik, Byala, Kochina, T'rnovo, Dryanovo and Gabrovo.
(d) Gabrovo to Kazanl'k, Stara Zagora and Nova Zagora.
It is dated 4 March 1878 and bears the signature of Trubacheev.152
On the back of letter No. 398 from Trubacheev at Svishtov, dated 13 March 1878 and sent to the T'rnovo office,
there is presented a plan relating to the closing of the station at the village of Shipka and the opening of two new
ones at Stara Zagora and Nova Zagora. The distance between Gabrovo and Nova Zagora is noted in versts (1 verst =
2/3 mile).153 Three other diagrams have been found of postal routes, somewhat identical to each other and which
we have been able to date around the middle of 1878.154 We note the main ones, as follows:
(a) From Ruse, continuing along the familiar route via T'rnovo to Gabrovo and joining the route from Svishtov
to Novigrad and Byala,
(b) From Pleven via Sevlievo to Gabrovo, and
(c) From Gabrovo via the village of Shipka, continuing on to Kazanl'k, Stara Zagora, Nova Zagora, Yambol,
Seimenli (now Lozenets, Yambol province), Karnobat, Aitos and Burgas.155
Yet another plan, sent to the Sofia post office from the Army Postal Administration at Adrianople, together with
letter No. 10929 of 18 Nov. 1878,156 delineates a route between Nikopol, Pleven, Sevlievo and Gabrovo, continuing
from the last city northwards towards Ruse and south towards Plovdiv.157
One of the concerns of the Civilian Administration during 1878 was to ensure maintenance of postal communications
along many directions in the country. This became imperative because the agreements with the German colonists ex-
pired at the beginning of April 1878. This was reflected in the contents of circular letter No. 195 of 9 February
1878 from the Civilian Administration and sent to the Governors in Plovdiv, Sliven, Svishtov and T'rnovo. They
were reminded, among other things, that the agreements ran out on 14 April 1878 and they were instructed to take
steps so that in no instance would the networks of communications already established be cut.158 The calling of new
tenders would be announced as soon as possible. 159 There is in existence a heavy correspondence in telegrams, letters
and drafts of agreements relating to the contract with the German colonists, which reflects the great concern of the
Russian administrative authorities in Bulgaria.160 The negotiations conducted with the first and most important postal
contractor, Theodor Schemer, were concluded successfully and on 12 March 1878 VI. Trubacheev signed a new agree-
ment with him. It can be seen from Trubacheev's copy that it was for a term of another 6 months and ensured the
maintenance of postal communications from Svishtov throughout the country and beyond the Stara Planina range to
Plovdiv and Adrianople.161
As the conclusion of new agreements became imminent at the end of 1878, a uniform contract draft, with separate
texts in Bulgarian and Russian, was prepared during December. It was entitled "Draft of normal conditions for
payment of the teams of post horses along the routes of the Principality of Bulgaria," containing 22 articles and
appropriately ratified by Prince Dondukov-Korsakov on 23 December.162 Let us look at the more important con-
ditions in it. In article No. 7, it is stated that each station had to have a large lantern hanging from a pole, as well
as a "tableau" or signboard with the name of the office placed above the door. There was to be enough room in a
postal cart to take two travelers and two trunks comfortably. During winter, sleighs had to be used instead of carts.
Article No. 11 envisaged the payment of charges and determined the speed rate of traffic. For each verst (2/3 mile)
per horse, the charge was 20 centimes, and the speed rate 10 versts per hour (6-2/3 mph) on highways, 8 versts per
hour (5-1/3 mph) on ordinary roads and 3-1/3 mph on mountain roads. Article No. 13 noted that mail and postal
officials despatched exclusively on official business were to travel free of charge.
There are numerous documents which reveal both the successes and misfortunes which arose, due to unavoidable
circumstances, while operating the stations. We will attempt to look at the more important of these, which will
allow us to obtain a clearer view of the situation.
In letter No. 5, dated 1 January 1878 at Svishtov, signed at Trubacheev and sent to the Director of Civilian Affairs
at G.H.Q., there is a report about the conditions and operations of the civilian mails, the difficulties encountered,
shortages of stock items and horses, etc.163
In a lengthy letter from Trubacheev, under No. 4, dated 1 January 1878 and sent to Cherkasskii, it is stated that
cooperation was being rendered by the military in conveying mails to the stations then existing in Bulgaria and that
he was awaiting an order to begin accepting ordinary mail and the sale of postage stamps at all stations, as requested
in his letter No. 171 of 22 Dec. 1877. He dwelt at length on the work of the German postal contractors in main-
taining communications and about the work of the officials at the various stations. He went into great detail about
the operations of the offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and the agency at Gabrovo. He devoted great attention to the
methods of accepting mail: ordinary and registered letters, ordinary official letters, private letters and postcards,
wrapper sending, parcels without declared value, etc. Trubacheev proposed that mail boxes be set up, from which
the mail would be cleared twice weekly. Finally, he requested that he be sent postal workers and officials with
In letter No. 176 for 26 April 1878 from the commander of the garrison at T'rnovo, he complained that the mail
arriving from Russia was being delayed for more than 10 days and he requested that measures be taken to remove
this irregularity, as well as "inform him of the reasons for the delay." The T'rnovo office, in its reply under No. 456
of 27 April, said that the fault was due to the field post agency at Ruse, which forwarded letters at its own discre-
tion. 166 In connection with the holding up of letters, instructions were given for their correct processing. These
were reflected in two letters: No. 728 of 10 April from T'rnovo and No. 6965 of 12 June from Ruse.167
In letter No. 1209 from the Postal Administration at Razgrad with date 6 July 1878, instructions are given to
Timofei Agarkov, the station supervisor at Pleven as to how he was to act in forwarding private and official corre-
spondence as well as for mail presented for onward transmission. 168
Instructions were given to render complete cooperation with the operations of the Field Post, in a circular letter of
the Field Postal Administration at Ruse, under No. 6820 for 5 June 1878, signed by Trubacheev and sent to the
directors of the stations in Bulgaria and Roumelia.169
In a letter from the beginning of June by Trubacheev to the Imperial Commissioner, entered at the Commissioner's
office under No. 936 on 10 June 1878, there is a lengthy description of the state of affairs of postal operations in
the country. In it, he states, among other things, that in carrying out the relevant order as Director of the unified
military and civilian mails, he went to T'rnovo where the Civilian Postal Administration was situated until then, so
as to move it to Ruse, where the Field Post Administration was; that he started work immediately, closing down
some routes that had already become unnecessary and opening new ones to correspond with actual requirements.
Services had been introduced to accept and deliver ordinary mail at the stations of Aitos, Burgas, Osman Pazar,
Sliven, Sofia and Vidin; also between Vidin and Silistra and vice versa, and from Ruse to Silistra and return the mail
was being conveyed along the Danube by steamers, etc.170
It is seen from an explanatory report by General Krenke, dated 15 July 1878, that the Postal Administration, then
situated at Razgrad, had been organized and attached to the Civilian Administration, having two offices at Svishtov
and T'rnovo and an agency at Gabrovo under its control. According to this report, offices and agencies were to be
located at Burgas, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sliven, Sofia, T'rnovo, Varna and Vidin and there would be seven "points" as well
for accepting and delivering ordinary correspondence at Nikopol, Nova Zagora, Osman Pazar, Shumen, Silistra and
Svishtov. So far as the composition of the personnel for the Civilian Postal Administration was concerned, it was to
be made up of one director, one official with special qualifications, one accountant, two secretaries and one assistant
secretary. To staff the post offices and agencies there were to be 2 postmasters, 3 receiving clerks, 6 sorters, 12
station supervisors and 26 postilions, half of whom had to be Bulgarians, making a grand total of 57 persons.'71
There is a note about conveying correspondence along the Danube in a proposal by the Field Postal Administration
at Ruse, under No. 6973 for 2 June 1878. It is stated therein that the transmission of mail, between Vidin and
Silistra, be organized with the steamers of the Austrian Danube Steamship Company (DDSG), as follows:
(a) Between Vidin and Nikopol and return, once a week, accompanied by an official from the Vidin station.
(b) Between Ruse and Svishtov and return, twice weekly, accompanied by an official from the Svishtov station.
(c) Between Ruse and Silistra and return, thrice weekly, accompanied by an official from the Ruse station.
Other directives are also given concerning the transmission of the mails.172
A typical situation relating to the mutual operations of the military and civilian postal services should now be noted.
There were cases where no civilian postal stations had been opened, or even cases where there were such facilities
and their services were utilized by the field post agencies situated there, either independently or under the direction
of the military, according to the circumstances. 73
There is word in the draft of a report, dated 4 August 1878 and presented to the Director of Internal Affairs, under
whose jurisdiction the Postal Department came, about the mishaps brought about by the unification of the civilian
and field postal administrations.174
Let us also look at the working hours of the postal stations. In a circular letter No. 1817 from the end of December
1878, the following working hours were specified: daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on
holidays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.175
Quite some effort was also devoted to safeguarding the regular and special delivery mails. We can distinguish three
types of postal services, namely the ordinary single-horse, express and relay mails.
So far as the single-horse mail was concerned, it was founded on 10 January 1878 to assure services between Svish-
tov, T'rnovo and Gabrovo and return. For mail to be carried by the single-horse post, it had to be presented at the
office or agency at one of the three towns mentioned. Trubacheev notified Cherkasskii about the opening of the
service by letter No. 72 on 7 Jan. 1878.176 In letter No. 57 for 7 January 1878, Trubacheev gave appropriate in-
structions about this service to the manager of the Pleven station.177
It appears that the act of introducing it did not give the desired results in practice. This comes to light from three
letters sent to the offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and the agency at Gabrovo, under Nos. 215, 216 and 217 respec-
tively on 8 Feb. 1878, in which the Postal Administration ordered that as from 11 Feb. all classes of letters were to
be accepted and they were to be sent not by the single-horse service, as had hitherto been the case, but by the two-
horse system, accompanied by postilions. Other instructions were also given in the letters concerning this matter. 178
As a consequence, the single-horse service was only in existence for one month.
In report No. 190 for 7 Feb. 1878 of the administrator at Oryakhovo to the Director of Civilian Affairs, there is
mention of the establishment of the so-called "express post," in connection with the quick delivery of correspondence
between Oryakhovo and Svishtov via Nikopol and between Oryakhovo and Pleven.179 This particular system, served
by mounted police, mainly carried official correspondence of an urgent character. It was in existence until the end
of spring 1878.180
For a certain period of time, the so-called relay mails also operated. It is stated in a letter dated 29 Oct. 1878 from
the Field Postal Administration to the Sofia office that by order of the Director of Military Communications there
should be organized immediately at Sofia the conveyance by relays of mail between Sofia, Adrianople, Kirk Kilise,
Burgas, Varna and Ruse.181 In connection with this matter, the office at Sofia advised the Department of Internal
Affairs that as of 1 November, the relay service had begun operations for forwarding private and official mail by the
above-mentioned route.182 The Sofia office also notified the civilian population about this service by a special notice.183
The Postal Administration also always strove to assure quick and regular forwarding of mail going abroad. In letter
No. 5 of 8 Jan. 1878, Trubacheev notified Cherkasskii that the Civilian Postal Administration had to receive and
forward all mail from and to Bulgaria through the Rumanian postal station at Zimnicea.184
Originally, the mail was forwarded by two routes via the post office at Ungeni. 185 However, as the railroad between
Bendery and Galatz had been opened for operation at the beginning of 1878, instructions were given to utilize this
direct and quick route. There are two letters on this topic: one from the Field Postal Administration under No.
4892 and dated 1 Feb. 1878186 and the other from the Civilian Postal Administration under No. 204 and dated
6 Feb. 1878.187 There is mention of the substitution of the Bendery office for that at Ungeni in the official bulletin
of the Russian Postal Service. It is stated therein that as the railroad between Bendery and Galatz was now open,
mail which had hitherto gone through the Ungeni post office would in future be despatched via the office at Bendery,
so as to have more direct links with the field postal agencies. Correspondence was conveyed along this railroad by
Mail Coach No. 75.188
As navigation along the Danube had been suspended during the winter of 1878-79, mail destined for Russia had to
be sent to Adrianople, starting from 1 Dec. 1878.189 It seems certain that the mall was sent from this city to Burgas,
for onward transmission to Russia by the ships of ROPIT.
The growing regularity in the operations of the postal services, in accordance with the gradual normalization of life,
naturally also made imperative the preparation of new schedules for postal traffic along the routes. We learn from
letter No. 626 of 7 July 1878 by the postmaster at the T'rnovo office that mall from Ruse to Gabrovo would be
sent twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and from Gabrovo to Ruse on Sundays and Wednesdays. A series
of directives etc, were given regarding this matter. 90
We also encounter another such schedule for the movement of malls between Sofia, Orkhanle, Yablanitsa, Lukovit,
Telish and Pleven. It is noted therein that Sofia had a post office, with an agency each at Orkhanie and Pleven.19'
It is indicated, among other matters, in circular letter No. 5040, dated 13 Dec. 1878 from the Department of In-
ternal Affairs and sent to the governors In the country, that the mall from Sofia for Pleven left on Tuesdays and
Saturday at 7 am and arrived at Pleven on Wednesdays and Sundays at 6:56 am. In the opposite direction, the
mail left on Mondays and Thursdays and arrived In Sofia on Tuesdays and Fridays, with the same departure and
arrival times.192 We find out from this circular letter the timetable for the movements of postal carts between Sofia
and Lom. Departures from Sofia took place every Tuesday and Saturday at 7 am and arrivals at Lom were on
Wednesday and Sundays at 1:05 "in the morning," For the return trip to Sofia, the departures were on Mondays
and Thursdays at 7 am, arriving in Sofia on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1:05 am.193
The postal services gradually became popular with the public and enjoyed its trust. For this reason, the public began
to utilize the services at an increasing rate. This was also due to the normalization of the state of affairs in Bulgaria.
To support this contention, we will avail ourselves of official data for the sale of postal items from 1 Jan. to 31 July
1878 at the Svishtov office:
From 1 Jan. to 31 March
Postage stamps Quantities on hand Quantities sold
1 kop. 2500 1700
2 kop. 1300 800
5 kop. 1300 625
8 kop. 10,000 1500
8 kop. 8000 120
10 kop. 3000
20 kop. 1000
4 kop. 3000 4194
From 1st to 30th April
1 kop. 800 500
2 kop. 500 --
5 kop. 675 250
8 kop. 8500 1225
8 kop. 7880 54
10 kop. 3000 --
20 kop. 1000 --
4 kop. 2996 __95
From 1st to 31st May
1 kop. 300 300
2 kop. 500 --
5 kop. 425 75
8 kop. 7275 575
Quantities on hand Quantities sold
8 kop. 7826
10 kop. 3000
20 kop. 1000
4 kop. 2996 4196
From 1st to 30th June
1 kop. 1920 20
2 kop. 1000 25
5 kop. 1500 126
8 kop. 6700 255
8 kop. 7826 13
10 kop. 3000 --
20 kop. 1000
4 kop. 2992 -197
From 1st to 31st July
1 kop. 1900 400
2 kop. 1475 175
5 kop. 1724 60
8 kop. 6445 132
8 kop. 7813 9
10 kop. 3000 -
20 kop. 1000
4 kop. 2992
imprinted stamp 1000 __198
It is assumed that the quantities sold at the larger towns along the Danube and in the interior of the country were
also to the same extent. It is only in that manner that the fact can be explained there was a pressing need for
delivering new quantities of postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps and postcards. The postal items re-
ceived from the Postal Department in St. Petersburg were shown to be insufficient. This is the reason why Truba-
cheev, in telegram No. 735 of 13 April 1878 to General Anuchin asked that the following quantities be despatched:
Postage stamps imprinted stamps
1 kop. 15,000 8 kop. 75,000
2 kop. 10,000 10 kop. 15,000
5 kop. 10,000 20 kop. 10,000
8 kop. 45,000
(These are assumed to be without imprinted stamp)
On the same day, General Anuchin telegraphed to the Postal Department regarding the above matter.200
At the beginning of October 1878, the Postal Administration at Ruse was moved to Adrianople. Since it did not
have at its disposal sufficient means of conveyance for the transfer of its property, various items were handed over
to the Ruse City Council for safekeeping. This took place in accordance with Order No. 1495 for 3 Oct. 1878 of
the Postal Administration. We find in the list attached to letter No. 3374 of 1 Nov. 1878 by the Governor at Ruse
to the Director of Internal Affairs at the Imperial Commissioner's office in Bulgaria, that the following items had
been handed over for safekeeping:
imprinted stamps Postcards 17,000201
8 kop. 45,000 (It is not specified whether they are
10 kop. 15,000 with or without the imprinted stamp.)
20 kop. 10,000
Since the Civilian Administration was located at the Army Staff, the Postal Administration was also subordinate to
the military authorities, as we have already mentioned. As a result, although it was allowed a fixed limit of freedom
of action, it had to conform with a series of military requirements to a certain extent. It was therefore natural that
their interests would become interwoven and it was necessary that they cooperate closely so that the work would
go on smoothly.
Many decisions taken for the forwarding of civilian mails by the military, or the reverse case, were temporarily
accomplished, postponed or only half carried out. The interesting thing is that the diligent work of the employees
of the Civilian Postal Administration was always apparent. Finally, when the situation in Bulgaria had become com-
pletely normal, the mails passed entirely into the hands of the Civilian Administration.
In a report from General Gresser in Sofia, dated 27 Jan. 1879, it is stated, for example, that because of the impend-
ing transfer of postal establishments wholly into the hands of the Civil Administration, he asked that Voshchenin, an
official of the Postal Administration, be assigned to Burgas under the Director of Military Communications for the
final acceptance of the postal services and that measures also be taken at the same time for opening new stations.
This proposal was accepted and Voshchenin arrived at Burgas.202
In letter No. 7530 by General Totle ben at San Stefano to Prince Dondukov and dated 19 May 1878, it is noted
among other things that the current Postal Division in Bulgaria consisted of three main departments: (1) the Field
Postal Service, (2) Posts and Telegraphs Department and (3) the Civilian Postal Administration. Since there had
been complaints about the tardy despatch and forwarding of military correspondence etc., Totleben appointed a
commission, tasked to enquire into these incidents and to indicate what should be done to eliminate the weaknesses
that had arisen.
The commission completed its investigation and came to the conclusion that an overall postal administration be or-
ganized, especially since the Russian Army continued to be stationed in Bulgaria. This administration had to be
completely under the control of the military, i.e. subordinate to the Director of the Field Postal Administration.203
With a view of bringing about a unified management of the mails, Prince Imeretinskii, in a telegram from San Stef-
ano, dated 23 May 1878, proposed to Prince Dondukov in Plovdiv that Trubacheev, the current Director of the
Civilian Postal Administration in Bulgaria, be appointed Chief of the combined mail services.204 The subsequent
reply stated the Imperial Commissioner did not object to this proposal and that Trubacheev should appear at Plov-
div to take over his new duties.204 In order No. 121 for 24 May 1878, issued by the Army, Trubacheev was ap-
pointed to carry out the duties of Director of "the Postal Division in Bulgaria." By circular No. 6772 of 2 June
1878, sent to the military and civilian postal stations in the country, in advising of his appointment, Trubacheev
stated that this was in connection with the unification of the military and civilian mails with resultant combined
operations. That was the reason why correspondence addressed to him had already been forwarded in his name to
the Military Postal Administration at Ruse.206 Two other letters, dated 12 and 16 July 1878, also refer to the
unification of these two mail services.207
One of the first duties of Trubacheev, in a circular No. 6820 dated 5 June 1878, was to advise the Postal Adminis-
tration in Bulgaria and Eastern Rournelia, as well as the route managers, to extend complete cooperation in working
with the Field Postal Service.208 In another one of his circulars, No. 6965 from Ruse on 12 June 1878, Trubacheev
ordered that resolute measures be taken to eliminate the mistakes that had cropped up and warned those responsible
that their performance had to be taken into consideration in appointing them upon their return to Russia.209
According to the draft of a report dated 4 Aug. 1878 and presented to the Department of Internal Affairs, it is
clear that the unification which had been accomplished did not give the desired results.210
The resumption of traffic along the Ruse-Varna railroad was also of great importance in facilitating the proper and
regular conveyance of mails and of communications in general. In connection with this matter, Lieutenant-General
Krenke, Director of Military Communications, presented to the Chief of Staff of the Army a "Memorial Report
regarding the utilization of the Ruse-Varna railroad," dated 15 July 1878. He set out in detail under seven headings
the necessity and usefulness of restoring traffic on this very important rail artery, as well as its working together
with the Russian military and civilian authorities, etc.211
In letter No. 415 with date 16 July 1878, sent from Razgrad and addressed to the Army Staff, General Krenke pro-
posed that the postal and telegraphic utilization of the railroad be bestowed upon the Civilian Administration.212
For its part, the company holding the concession for this railroad would print the schedule of train movements as
coming into force on 20 July 1878, in Russian and French.213 From a telegram by engineer Gette at Ruse to Prince
Dondukov at Plovdiv, it becomes apparent that on that same date "traffic had been opened properly" on the Ruse-
As a result of the victorious conclusion of the war for Russia, the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano on 19 Feb.
1878 and the Congress of Berlin constituted later on, favorable conditions were established for the normalization
of life in Bulgaria, on both sides of the Stara Planina range. Among other things, this also contributed to the ex-
pansion of the postal network and to the opening of new stations, as far as circumstances would permit. Not only
were stations opened for changing horses on newly set up or extended routes, but also "postal establishments"
carrying out the usual functions: the receipt and delivery of letters, money sending, parcels and wrappers. The
stations were provided with signboards inscribed "Pochtovaya Stantsiya" ("Postal Station"), set up at their entrances
The noted historian K. Jirecek saw such a signboard hanging at the Lom station during Nov. 1879.215 Each newly
opened station was provided with all necessary articles including dated postal cancellers and seals. Some of these
places, which had originally been founded as stations for changing horses during 1877, were now being changed in-
to postal establishments. Here are some examples: at the end of Feb. 1878, a postal station was opened at Ruse;
in March 1878 at Sofia; during the spring of the same year at Eski Dzhumaya, Shumen and Silistra; around June
1878 at Vidin216 and Osman Pazar; around 15 Nov. 1878 at Berkovitsa,217 Lom, Orkhanie and Razgrad; and at the
end of August at Varna.
In telegram No. 35 of 8 January 1878, the assistant to General Anuchin, the Director of the Civilian Administration
notified the supervisors at Orkhanie and Oryakhovo that postal stations were being opened in the province of Svish-
tov & T'rnovo with the town of Pleven as the point of departure.218
Going by a report by Radchenko and Trubacheev, the postal stations at Byala, Lovech, Pleven and Sevlievo also
began accepting private correspondence as from 15 January 1878, in accordance with an order dated 12 January.219
By order No. 2572 of 4 Sept. 1878, the postal station at Lovech was instructed to carry out all classes of service,
including the acceptance of registered mail.220
In a circular dated 30 Jan. 1878 and signed by General Anuchin, the governors of the five Bulgarian provinces of
Ruse, Sofia, T'rnovo, Varna and Vidin were ordered to open postal stations at all provincial towns.221
Up to the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano, 21 stations served by 320 horses were operating on the routes north
of the Balkan range.222 We learn from a report by Dondukov, dated 16 July 1878 that 23 stations were working
on the Ruse-Gabrovo route (with a branch from Byala to Svishtov) and from Pleven via Lovech and Gabrovo to
The opening of new postal stations went on steadily. The Governor of Sofia, P. Alabin, in report No. 1092 for 15
March 1878, requested permission to establish new regular communications between Sofia and Tatar-Pazardzhik and
further along the railroad to Yambol and T'rnovo Seimen. In the same report, he asked that postal communications
also be built up from Sofia to all the larger localities, lying along the highways. On 29 April, the Governor received
the necessary permission regarding this matter.224 The station opened earlier at Lom, was changed in status to an
office on 5 Dec. 1878. Its staff amounted to 8 persons, directed by provincial secretary Belyi as "postmaster," who
had arrived for this purpose from Adrianople, where he had headed the 15th field postal agency.225
The Treaty of San Stefano not being in the interests of the remaining Great Powers, the so-called Berlin Congress
was convoked on 1 June 1878 at the German Capital and continued its work for exactly one month. By it, the
Treaty of San Stefano was fundamentally revised. As a result, the Principality of Bulgaria was established with
boundaries now much shortened; the territory south of the Stara Planina range and up to the Rhodope Mountains
became an autonomous region with the name of Eastern Roumelia and under the tutelage of Turkey. It was decreed
by the Congress of Berlin that the Russian forces could only remain for a period of 9 months after it was ratified.
This caused the Russians to quicken the tempo of organizing the administrative process, both in Bulgaria and Eastern
Roumelia. This also applied to the establishment of the postal services.
On 3 Dec. 1878, the first Bulgarian stamps with values in centimes and 1 franc were ordered from the State Print-
ing Office at St. Petersburg. Their designs were the work of a Bulgarian, Georgi Yakovlev Kirkov (1848-1929), who
was a councillor with special commissions under Alabin, the governor of Sofia and also a deputy to the Grand Na-
tional Assembly during the spring of 1879. He later also undertook other posts, including that of Director of the
State Printing Office in Sofia.226
LIST OF THE POSTAL STATIONS WITH COMPLETE RANGE OF SERVICES
IN THE PRINCIPALITY OF BULGARIA DURING 1878
No. Name Opening Date Closing Date
1. Berkovitsa about 15 Nov. 1878 30 Apr. 1879
2. Eski Dzhumaya (now T'rgovishte) spring of 1878 March 1879
3. Gabrovo 21 Nov. 1878 30 Apr. 1879
4. Lom Palanka (now Lom) about 15 Nov. 1878 30 Apr. 1879
5. Lovech about 24 Dec. 1878 spring 1879
6. Nikopol Nov. 1877 30 Apr. 1879
7. Orkhanie (now Botevgrad) about 15 Nov. 1878 30 Apr. 1879
8. Osman Pazar (now Omurtag) end of May 1878 March 1879
9. Pleven around Dec. 1877 30 Apr. 1879
10. Razgrad around 15 Nov. 1878
11. Rustchuk (now Ruse) end Feb. 1878
12. Selvi (now Sevlievo) 23 Dec. 1877
13. Shumla (now Shumen) spring of 1878
14. Silistra spring of 1878
15. Sistov (now Svishtov) 17 Nov. 1877
16. Sofia (Sredets) March 1878
17. T'rnovo 19 Nov. 1877
18. Varna end Aug. 1878 "
19. Vidin beginning June 1878
These were the only stations that had appropriate postmarkers at their disposal.
We must draw on second-hand information regarding the opening of the Russian postal station at Rakhov (Rakhovo,
now Oryakhovo). This town on the Danube was taken by the Rumanian forces on 9 Nov. 1877. A Rumanian field
post agency was opened there and it operated until the spring of 1878 when these forces were evacuated.227 Russian
troops were already proceeding to Oryakhovo at the end of January beginning of February 1878 to replace the
In report No. 190 for 7 Feb. 1878 by the governor of Oryakhovo to the Director of the Civilian Administration,
there is word, as we have already seen, about the "express post" established between this city and Svishtov, Nikopol
and Pleven. This suggests that there may have been a Russian civilian postal station at Oryakhovo at that time,
which is also mentioned in a report of 1939.228 We do not have any other information at our disposal about the
fate of this particular station later on in 1878.
It is stated in the draft of a list, apparently a government schedule, undated but probably from March 1879, that
stations would "soon" be opened at Ryakhovo and Eski Dzhumaya for the acceptance of all classes of mail.229 In
any case, these stations were not operating during April 1879, since we do not encounter them in the list of offices
existing as at 1 May 1879. The station at Ryakhovo was opened on 10 May 1879 by the Bulgarian Postal Adminis-
tration.230 It utilized in its operations the canceller prepared earlier by the Russians. We found this particular
postmark of late on a letter sent at the beginning of August 1879 from Oryakhovo to T'rnovo. Two of the strikes
are dated 2 August and the other two a day later.
Even during the onset of 1879, special attention continued to be devoted in Bulgaria. Measures were taken to open
new stations and to improve their operations. For example, in a report from Kyustendil, it is stated, after mention-
ing other matters, that the telegraph station had started working there to maintain links with Sofia, that "it would
be desirable that a regular postal service also be established to serve for communications, because the lack of it is felt
The Office of the Russian Commissioner in Bulgaria, in a letter dated 30 March 1879 to the Department of Internal
Affairs ordered that measures be taken by the T'rnovo post office for the rapid, prompt and accurate processing of
mail from and to the Office of the Commissioner. 233
The convocation of the Grand National Constituent Assembly at the ancient capital of T'rnovo was fixed for 10
February 1879, so as to work on and accept the constitution of the revived Bulgarian State. One month before that,
a series of new measures were taken to assure rapid communications throughout the country. They were required
for the journeys of official personages and national representatives on postal carts and for moving the mails. Apart
from the normal conveyance of mails, it was decided to organize yet another special service for the urgent despatch
of correspondence between the main population centres in the country, under the name of the single-horse post. In
letter No. 86 for 15 January 1879, the postmaster of the Sofia office presented to the postal agency at the Commis-
sioner's Office a schedule worked out in detail for proceeding from Sofia via Orkhanie, Pleven and Sevlievo for
T'rnovo.234 For its part, the Field Postal Administration, in letter No. 12282 for 18 January 1879 to the Director
of the Department of Internal Affairs gave the necessary instructions relating to the movements of the single-horse
post between Sofia and T'rnovo, attaching the necessary plans and schedules for this purpose. 235 It is stated in a
note appended to these schedules that stoppings at each station should not last more than 10 minutes and that the
single-horse post had precedence over the regular mail.236 Letter No. 95 for 18 January 1879 of the Postal Admin-
istration is also concerned with this matter and that the journey from Sofia to T'rnovo should take place at 9 pm.237
In Letter No. 98 of the same date, the Postal Administration informed Efim Reshetnikov, the director of the T'rnovo
office, that the daily exchange of ordinary mail by means of the single-horse service between T'rnovo and Sofia
would be set up as from 6 February 1879. The prepared schedule for this service is also appended to the letter.238
Again in connection with this same matter, there is a report dated 25 January 1879 by General Gresser to the Com-
missioner's Office. The most important point indicated in it was that the departure of the mails should take place
at 3 pm from each town, to arrive the following day at 8 pm. A diagram was also attached.239
Similar postal links were also organized between T'rnovo and Ruse, and T'rnovo to Plovdiv, schedules being also pre-
pared. 240 In another timetable dated 29 January 1879, dealing with the daily movements of the single-horse serv-
ice between T'rnovo and Sofia, starting from 6 February until the closing of the Constituent Assembly, there is a
note stating that the stopping period at each station along the route was 5 minutes and that there were horses and
drivers to be found at each station. 241 Also that Theodor Schemer, the postal contractor, had notified G.
Voshchenin, the director of the Postal Department, that he would take steps to maintain the passage of the single-
horse service during the session of the Constituent Assembly at T'rnovo.242
According to circular No. 65 for 12 January 1879 from the Postal Administration to the supervisor of the Pleven
station, we learn that the routes were subordinate to the respective governors, who directed operations through their
employees. Moreover, four supervisors were appointed to exercise control over the postal routes, namely one at
Sofia for the Lom-Sofia-Tartar Pazardzhik stretch; another at Pleven for the Sofia-Pleven-Nikopol route, a third at
Gabrovo for the Plordiv-Gabrovo-Setovo line and the last one at T'rnovo for the Ruse-T'rnovo-Dryanovo-Novo
Selo-Eski Dzhumaya-Eilyakyoi route.243 A similar circular, with the same date, was also sent to another
As the agreement with Schemer ran out on 14 April 1879, the Postal Administration decided to take steps at the
same time to call for public tenders. With this aim in mind, the Postal Administration, in a circular dated 23 Janu-
ary 1879 to the five governors of the "Principality of Bulgaria," in informing them about this matter, pointed out
that some citizens declared their intention to take upon themselves the conveyance of the mails for a smaller sum
than paid to Schemer, i.e., for 87r. 50k. per horse per month. In conclusion, they were asked to announce the call-
ing of tenders, etc. The circular is signed by Voshchenin.245 The schedules of the routes in the provinces were also
attached, showing also the existing stations along them and the required number of horses:
Rustchuk (Ruse) Province T'rnovo Province
Bakhlar (now Albanovo) 7 horses Akandzhilar (now Petko Slaveikov) 6 horses
Br'shlyanitsa 6 Dryanovo 6
Byala 6 Eilyakyoi (now Polyane) 7
Eski Dzhumaya Gabrovo 6
(now T'rgovishte) 7 Kesarevo 7
Lukovit 7 Kocheni (now Kutsina) 6
Nikopol 6 Lovech 6
Pleven 6 Novo Selo 7
Rustchuk (now (Ruse) 6 Osman Pazar (now Omurtag) 7
Svishtov 2 Setovo (now Slavyani) 6
Telish 7 Sevlievo 7
Tr'stenik 6 T'rnovo 10
Total 66 horses Total 81 horses
Sofia Province Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik
(now Tolbukhin) 4
Beledie Khan 7 Kozludzha 4
Gintsi 7 Provadiya 4
Novi Khan 10 Shumen 7
Orkhanie Varna 2
Orkh nieTotal 28 horses
(now Botevgrad) 7
Tashkesen Berkovitsa 7
Lom Palanka (now Lom) 7
(nowSarantsi) Two stns. between Lom & Berkovitsa 14
Vakarel 10 Petrokhan 7
Yablanitsa 7 Vidin 2
Total 77 horses Total 37 horses
After the issue of this particular circular, a "Plan of the general conditions for giving outpost horses for utilization
on the routes of Bulgaria" was endorsed by Prince Dondukov on 23 December 1878 and then printed. This plan
contained 22 articles. In Article No. 1, it was stated that the postal service was to be organized for the transmission
of relays, the conveyance of mails and for persons on trips, traveling for official or private needs, either on state or
their own carts. Article No. 3 specified the rate of speed of the carts: 10 versts per hour (6-2/3 mph) on highways;
8 versts per hour (5-1/3 mph) on ordinary roads and 5 versts per hour (3-1/2 mph) on mountain roads. In accord-
ance with Article No. 11, the traveling change was fixed at 20 centimes per verst per horse. 246
The question of appointing Bulgarians as employees in the postal service was constantly to the fore. According to
one list dating from around 1 January 1879, they already numbered 18 persons, of whom one was a mail sorter and
the others postilions. The Sofia Office had the greatest number of Bulgarians-8 people, while there were 4 at
T'rnovo. Another two worked at Gabrovo, while Berkovitsa, Lom, Svishtov and Vidin had one each.247 This
question had come more and more to a head and pressing during April 1879, according to a letter from the Director
of the Postal Department sent to the Imperial Commissioner. It is stated therein that because of the dismantling of
the field postal service, the necessity of replacing Russian mailmen with Bulgarians became more and more apparent.
However, the number of candidates was still very limited.248 We have found in a folio of 77 sheets many requests
dating from 7 February to 31 May 1879, from Bulgarians seeking their appointment to the Postal Administration.249
During the spring of 1879, the question arose of the conveyance of mail by special couriers. The Russian Embassy
at Constantinople, in Letter No. 345 of 17 March 1879 to the Russian Commissioner in Bulgaria, noted the neces-
sity of establishing postal communications between the Turkish capitol and Sofia via Plovdiv, by means of "special
couriers." 250 Whether or not the proposal was ever carried out is a question that cannot be answered with any
degree of certainty.
Circular No. 850 of 19 April 1879 referred to the despatch of uncharged and unpaid letters, and it ordered that such
correspondence not be forwarded.251 We must also mention here another interesting fact, namely of placing in
quarantine letters going by sea from Russia to Constantinople. In report No. 211 of 4 February 1879, from the
postmaster of the Sofia Office to the Postal Administration, there is a note that such mail, in the form of letters and
newspapers, was being slit and subjected to fumigation.252
New schedules were prepared at the end of March 1879 for the movements of postal carts, with a view to contribu-
ting even more to regularity in the conveyance of the mails. As of 31 March 1879, such schedules were produced
for the following routes:
(a) From T'rnovo to Gabrovo and return.253
(b) From T'rnovo to Shumen and return.254
(c) From T'rnovo to Ruse and return.255
(d) From T'rnovo to Nikopol and return.256
(e) From Sofia to Pleven and return. 257
During the winter season, the mail for Russia was forwarded via Ruse, Shumen and Yambol to Burgas and from there
by sea to Odessa.258 It was also despatched by sea via Varna.259
The operations of the Austrian Consular Posts at Ruse and Varna were revived after the resumption, at the end of
July 1879, of traffic on the railroad linking these two cities, the line being placed under the control of the Russian
Administration in Bulgaria. It only required a few months for the Austrian postal agencies at Ruse and Varna to re-
new and even surpass the volume of mail transmitted and delivered, as compared to 1877. In connection with this
matter, an important question was raised by the Varna agency at the end of April 1879. It referred to the fact that
although Austrian mail to Bulgaria was being properly franked with Austrian postage stamps, it was supposed to be
franked in addition also with Russian stamps, in accordance with the established tariffs. In Letter No. 305 for 20
April 1879, the Varna postamaster notified the Director of the Postal Department, at the Office of the Russian
Commissioner in Bulgaria, that mail arriving in Ruse by the Austrian Post, mainly wrapper sending, was being for-
warded to the Varna postal station for delivery. Because of this situation, it was proposed that the mail be further
franked with Russian postage stamps. It was stated in the letter that several dozens of letters and up to 300 wrapper
sending were arriving at Ruse every week by the Austrian Post. 260
The impending transfer of the postal service into the hands of the reestablished Bulgarian Administration, whose
operations started on 1 May 1879, as well as the introduction on that date of Bulgarian postage stamps and new
postal rates, posed to the Russian Civilian Administration the question of making the necessary preparations in this
The Postal Administration had already requested the stations in the country, in its circular No. 4035 dated 14 Feb-
ruary 1879, to begin returning the remaining unsold Russian postage stamps, envelopes and cards they had on hand.
The following stations were the first to respond to this circular: Berkovitsa, Gabrovo, Lom, Nikopol, Orkhanie,
Pleven, Razgrad, Sevlievo, Shumen, Sofia, Svishtov, T'rnovo, Varna and Vidin.261 Another similar circular, under
No. 833 with date 18 April 1879 was sent around to the stations for the purpose of speeding up the return of the
relevant postal Items, 262
In circular No, 1236 for 11 May 1879 of the Bulgarian Postal Administration, in which a series of directives is given
about the operations of the stations, it is pointed out that Russian postage stamps, envelopes and postcards had
ceased to be in legal use as of 1 May 1879.263
However, some stations did not expedite their returns, although the relevant items were no longer needed by them.
For this reason, Major-General Gresser, together with Voshchenin, signed Letter No. 1903 with date 28 June 1879,
in which it was pointed out that the returns of the Russian postal items were imperative, since as of 1 May 1879 the
mails had come under Bulgarian administration and that, from this date, only Bulgarian postage stamps were valid. 264
Circular No. 2420 dated 12 August 1879 also pursued the same suriect.265 It appears that this problem was finally
settled by the end of 1879, at the latest.
On 7 February 1879, it was decreed by an order issued at Army Headquarters that the posts and telegraphs be
handed over to the Civilian Administration.266 This particular order was to be put into effect by 1 April.267
During March 1879, the Postal Administration was transferred to G. Voshchenin. 268 The transfer of the property
of the field postal agencies to the civilian posts on the spot commenced at the beginning of March 1879, in accord-
ance with Order No. 356 of 4 March.
On 7 March 1879, the 18th field postal agency transferred to the Pleven station on an inventoried basic all its prop-
erty on hand, including Russian postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps and postcards without imprinted
stamp.269 On 10 March 1879, the 13th field postal agency handed over to the Orkhanie station or an inventoried
basis various items, including those mentioned above, as well as a cachet for denoting unpaid correspondence.270
On 11 March 1879, two field postal agencies transferred their inventory items to the civilian stations, namely the
11th f.p.a. to the Shumen Sta. and the 15th f.p.a. to the Razgrad Sta. The former also handed over a canceller in-
scribed "Shumla/Shumen" and the latter a cachet for unpaid mail and a breastplate with the postilion insignia,-71
The 15th field postal agency also transferred to the local civilian postal station its remaining equipment, including
stamps, envelopes and postcards, according to an inventory list dated 13 March 1879.272 On the same day, the 9th
field postal agency at Silistra also transferred its property.273 The Silistra station notified the Postal Administration
in Sofia by letter about the postage stamps, envelopes and cards on hand. 274 On 15 March 1879, the 19th field
postal agency at Nikopol handed over its equipment, in accordance with letter No. 2 to the local civilian postal
station;275 the following day the transfer took place at Varna of the inventory of the former 4th field postal
agency to the local station, in accordance with letter No. 56 of 16 March to the latter station.276 There are details
in a special notebook about the kinds and quantities of Russian postage stamps of 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 20 kop.
values, envelopes of 8, 10 and 20 kop. and postcards without imprinted stamp, transferred to the local civilian postal
stations at Nikopol, Orkhanie, Pleven, Razgrad, Shumen and Varna.
In a report dated 12 March 1879 by G. Voshchenin, Director of the Postal Department, to the Chief of the Depart-
ment of Internal Affairs at the Office of the (Russian) Commissioner (for Bulgaria), it is stated that in connection
with the imminent departure of the army from the territory of Bulgaria, Eastern Roumelia and Thrace, there should
be organized at all postal establishments, as far as possible, services for accepting and forwarding all classes of mail,
both for transmission to Russia and also within Bulgaria. The Director of Military Communications was also advised
of the above matter.278
We learn from circular No. 470 of the Postal Administration, dated 13 March 1879, that 16 postal establishments
were operating in Bulgaria at that time, as follows: an office each at Sofia and Varna, an agency each at Lom
Palanka, Ruse and T'rnovo and 11 stations for accepting all classes of mail at Berkovitsa, Gabrovo, Nikopol, Ork-
hanie, Pleven, Razgrad, Sevlievo, Shumen, Silistra, Svishtov and Vidin.279
In the draft of a list, prepared in all likelihood during April 1879 and which looks more like an official schedule,
there is mention of a station existing at Khadzi Oglu Pazardzhik, while that at Nikopol is not noted. It is also stated
therein that stations for the acceptance of all classes of mail would be opened "in the near future" at Eski Dzhumaya
and Rakhovo.280 In spite of this document, these two stations were not opened.
LIST OF THE POSTAL STATIONS IN THE PRINCIPALITY OF BULGARIA
AS AT 1 MAY 1879, PERFORMING ALL FUNCTIONS
(on this date, they had Bulgarian postage stamps available and the mail was being
being charged at the new postal rates. The Russian postal cancellers,
which they inherited, continued in use)
No. Name Opening date
1. Berkovitsa about 15 November 1878
2. Gabrovo 21 November 1877
3. Lom Palanka (now Lom) about 15 November 1878
4. Nikopol November 1877
5. Orkhanie (now Botevgrad) about 15 November 1878
6. Pleven around 24 December 1877
7. Razgrad about 15 November 1878
8. Rustchuk (now Ruse) end February 1878
9. Sevlievo-Selvi 23 December 1877
10. Shumla (now Shumen) spring of 1878
11. Silistra spring of 1877
12. Sistov (now Svishtov) 17 November 1877
13. Sofia (Sredets) March 1878
14. T'rnovo 19 November 1877
15. Varna end August 1878
16. Vidin beginning June 1878
THE FIELD POSTAL SERVICE
As far back as 1876, the High Command of the Russian Army took the trouble to prepare a new set of regulations,
specifying the operations and tasks of the military authorities in occupied foreign territories. This series entitled
"The position on the management of the forces in the field during wartime" was approved on 16 October 1876.281
It is indicated therein, among other things, that the Field Postal Service consisted of the Field Postal Administration
established at the Army Staff, the Field Post Office at G.H.Q. and field postal agencies organized at field corps and
other army units, at the discretion of the Field Postal Administration. Count Counsellor Romanus was the first one
to be appointed as its Director.282
The Military Command understood very well the great role and morale-building value of maintaining the regular mail
communications of servicemen with their families and relatives and it attached well deserved importance to soldiers'
correspondence. A fund of experience had already been accumulated from the past in this matter.283 A special set
of regulations was prepared, relating to the establishment and operations of the above-mentioned military postal fa-
cilities and ratified on 4 November 1876, under the title of "Regulations about the Management of the Postal Divi-
sion attached to the Army." It was brought to general notice by Order No. 326 dated 5 November 1876 of the
Military Authorities. For its part, the Postal Department (of Russia) acquainted the services subordinate to it with
some of the existing stipulations relating to the conveyance of mail, destined for the army on active service.
Ordinary private correspondence (letters weighing up to two lots, i.e., 1 oz.284 and postcards), despatched from
Russia to members of the army on active service, as well as mail sent by them to Russia, was accepted and distrib-
uted according to destination free of charge. Postcards without imprinted stamp had to be sold at the rate of four
for one kopek. With regard to letters weighing more than 2 lots (1 oz.), registered letters and wrapper sending,
these were charged for, in accordance with the established postal rates.285
The operations of the Field Postal Service began at the city of Kishinev, where the G.H.Q. was originally situated.
The services located there were the "PPU" (Polevoe Pochtovoe Upravlenie or Field Postal Administration) and the
"PPK" (Polevaya Pochtovaya Kontora or Field Post Office). At first, the Field Postal Service and its staff acted as
assistants to the post offices in Bessarabia, where the greater part of the army was stationed, since the handling of
soldiers' mail impeded the operations of the local stations and was too much for the personnel they had available.286
By the day war was declared, the Russian Forces had already begun to cross over into Rumanian territory. The
G.H.Q. was relocated together with them at the city of Ploiesti on 1 May 1877.287 The Field Postal Administration
and the services under its control were also installed there. Since the direct communications routes went through
Rumania, the Russian High Command also took care at the same time to settle the question of mail transmission
across Rumanian territory. As a result of the negotiations which had been carried out, a "Convention regarding the
acceptance and forwarding of correspondence and parcel sending between Rumanian post offices and military postal
agencies at Russian camps and vice versa, during the period of hostilities between Russia and Turkey" was signed
under No. 6197 on 2 May 1877 at Bucharest.288 The actual text is as follows:
"We, the undersigned, namely the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs, and the Assistant
Director of the Military Mails for the army on active service, agree that
1. The entire Imperial Russian correspondence, official and private, as well as parcel send-
ings, shall be liable to postal charges in accordance with the Convention of the U.P.U. and the
laws of the country.
The payment of the appropriate rates of the country will be performed in accordance
with Article XIII of the general convention, concluded between the Imperial Government and
2. All classes of mail are acceptable for conveyance in closed packages, sacks, cases and
3. All ordinary, official and registered correspondence, as well as wrapper sending shall be
sent to the Rumanian offices, accompanied in every case by a form (per exhibit "A"), on
which shall be entered the weight of the correspondence, excluding that of the package cover-
ing or other means by which the mail is being despatched.
4. The post office receiving the mail shall sign for it in a special register.
5. The Rumanian offices will indicate on the postal forms the weight in Rumanian terms
and the Russian offices the weight in Russian terms.
6. Rumanian post offices which are not near Russian military camps shall be permitted,
whenever required, to have a Russian Clerk or Courier on hand for unpacking, classifying and
forwarding mail to its destination.
The Director-General of the Rumanian Posts
and Telegraphs: signed C. Pilat
The Assistant Director of the Military Mails:
On the basis of this convention, a number of Russian field postal agencies were opened in Rumania, cooperating ex-
tensively with the Rumanian postal and telegraph stations on the spot. We will enlarge upon the work of the
Russian field postal agencies in Rumania a little further on in this study.
There is mention in order No. 106 for 14 May 1877, issued at G.H.Q. in Ploiesti about the correct addressing of
mail so that its despatch and delivery to the proper quarter could be facilitated.289 The order had the following in
"For the purpose of eliminating the difficulties which have arisen in sending mail because of the moving
up of troops, it is decreed that the correct manner of addressing all correspondence from the Empire
to members of the army on active service be by the endorsement 'To the Ungeni post office, for delivery
to the army on active service,' followed by the exact designation of army unit or military administration,
to which the person belongs and to whom the mail is addressed." 290
On the night of 14/15 June 1877, the Russian Forces crossed the Danube and entered Bulgaria near the Town of
Svishtov. The Field Postal Service followed the army without hestiation, together with the organization of the
The Field Postal Service actively manifested its purpose in Rumania from May 1877 and in Bulgaria, including the
Dobrudja, a short time after the army had crossed the Danube, heading south. This becomes apparent from some of
the first news items connected with its operations. As an example, the newspaper "B'lgarin" in its issue No. 9 for 5
November 1877 published in its chronicle of events, an item from the Administration of Military Posts and Tele-
graphs, in which the opening was announced of telegraphic agencies at Pordim and Bokhot (Pleven district), as well
as Mahmudie, Megedie and Murfatlar in the Dobrudja. In another notice from the Field Postal Service, it was stated
that a "telegraphical" agency had been opened at the city of Pleven around the middle of December 1877 and in-
tended also for private correspondence.291
Since we have made mention of Pleven, another very interesting episode should be noted. During the seige of the
fortress-city, the encircled Turkish Forces received through special envoys "packages of newspapers," by courtesy of
the Russian Field Postal Service. By order of the C.i.C., (Grand Duke) Nikolai Nikolaevich and General Gurko,
copies were sent to them in this manner of the English newspapers "The Times," "The Daily News" and "The
Standard." For his part, Osman Pasha silently acknowledged these kindnesses displayed by the Russians.292 This
particular instance may be explained by the fact that the Turks were completely surrounded and thus remained with-
out any contact with the outside world. They knew nothing about the fact that the progress of the war pointed up
the failure of their forces. To let them know the latest news, the more responsible Russian military commanders
permitted the periodic despatch of some authoritative English newspapers. Moreover, in this way, Osman Pasha was
being informed on the progress of the war through the receipt of newspapers from a country that was very well
disposed towards the Ottoman Empire.
In Letter No. 159 for 20 December 1877 from the Director of the Postal Division in Bulgaria it is noted, among
other things, that Prince Cherkasskii had permitted the conveyance of the military mails by the station horses of the
Civilian Postal Administration.293 This action illustrated the close cooperation even then, at the very beginning of
the war, between the Civilian and Field Postal Services.
The fall of Pleven and the passage of the greater part of the forces south of the Stara Planina range removed the
former importance of Svishtov in maintaining communications with Russia via Rumania. For this reason, it was im-
perative that new central localities be selected along the Danube so as to connect up communications that were more
direct. In Letter No. 255 of 15 February 1878 from the Postal Administration, signed by Trubacheev and addressed
to the Director of the Civilian Administration, after referring, among other things, to various conditions connected
with the transmission of mail across Rumania, Trubacheev proposed that the field post office and agency at Svishtov
and Zimnicea be transferred to Ruse and Giurgiu respectively.294 In connection with this matter, the Field Postal
Administration, in its Letter No. 5050 of February 1878 (the day is illegible), notified the Postal Administration
that the post office was being moved from there (i.e., at Svishtov) to Ruse and the 15th field postal agency from
Zimnicea to Giurgiu. 295 In another letter from Ruse, dated 5 April 1878, explanations and directions are given
about the circulation of soldiers' mail through the field postal agencies.296
The conclusion of the Treaty of San Stefano established a new outlook concerning the transmission of soldiers' mail.
This was the reason why an announcement was printed in issue No. 47 of the "Government Gazette" at St. Peters-
burg, in which it was stated that such mail addressed to servicemen stationed beyond the Stara Planina range would
be despatched by the ships of ROPiT and that for this it would be necessary for mail to be enclosed with the words
"TO THE ARMY ON ACTIVE SERVICE" and "BEYOND THE BALKAN MOUNTAINS" (Stara Planina).297
Since a considerable normalization of the situation had already been felt in the territories taken right up to the walls
of Constantinople, the G.H.Q. which was situated at San Stefano, found it necessary to ensure the maintenance, as
far as possible, of more regular communications between units located in the occupied lands. With this in view, the
G.H.Q. addressed a special "Order to the forces in the army on active service" under No. 39 for 6 May 1878, bearing
the signature of Adjutant-General A. K. Imeretinskii and printed on four pages.298 It is stated therein that a postal
courier service was being established for military units between San Stefano and Adrianople and beyond there on
two separate routes: one leading to Plovdiv and the other to Yambol, proceeding onwards via Sliven, Kazan (Kotel),
Osman Pazar, Eski Dzhumaya and Razgrad to Ruse and Bucharest. The entire route was divided into nine sections,
SECTION I: From San Stefano to Adrianople. The courier left daily and accepted
military mail at the stations of Hadimkoy, Corlu, Uzunkipru and Odrin
SECTION II: From Adrianople to Philippopolis (Plovdiv).
SECTION III: From Adrianople to Sliven.
SECTION IV: From Sliven to Kazan (Kotel).
SECTION V: From Kazan (Kotel) to Osman Pazar.
SECTION VI: From Osman Pazar to Eski Dzhumaya.
SECTION VII: From Eski Dzhumaya to Razgrad.
SECTION VIII: From Razgrad to Ruse.
SECTION IX: From Ruse to Bucharest.
Until the resumption of the sea route, regular overland parcel services were established with couriers from San
Stefano to Odessa via Bucharest, Galatz (Galati), Bendery and return.
A document dated 15 July 1878 gives us an idea not only of the civilian mails at that time but also of the field
postal service. The following were under the control of the Military Administration in Bulgaria: the Field Postal
Service, an office at Ruse and five agencies at Nikopol, Plovdiv, Reni, San Stefano and Yambol. In addition, there
were another eight agencies at the Guards, Grenadiers, 4th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th and 14th Army Corps, as well as
postal clerks accepting and distributing ordinary correspondence at Aitos, Burgas, Osman Pazar, Shumen, Sliven,
Sofia and Vidin.299
In accordance with telegram No. 63 (the date for which is not indicated on the draft, but which we believe to be
from the beginning of September 1878), sent by General Imeretinskii, Chief of Staff of the army on active service,
to the Director of Military Communications, it is stated that as the G.H.Q. would be moved from San Stefano to
Adrianople on 8th and 9th September 1878 and the 4th Corps stationed before Constantinople was due to begin
withdrawing on 10 September, measures should be taken to assure regular communications by sea between Odessa
and Burgas and in conveying the mail from Burgas.300 In a telegram from Burgas by General Krenke, Director of
Military Communications, dated 26 September 1878 and sent to the office of the Imperial Commissioner, there is
information about the transfer of control of the tarred roads to the Civilian Administration.301 There appears in
No. 1618 for 9 November 1878 of the Postal Administration in Bulgaria, which was distributed to the stations at
Gabrovo, Sofia, Svishtov, T'rnovo and Vidin, a list of the field post offices and agencies existing at that time, both
in Rumania as well as south of the Danube.302 They were as follows:
FIELD POST OFFICE NO. 1: at Adrianople (Odrin or Edirne, now in Eastern Thrace, Turkey).
FIELD POSTAL AGENCY NO. 1: at Ruse (Rustchuk).
F. P. A. NO. 2: at Galatz (Galati, Rumania)
F. P. A. NO. 3: at Megidie (Northern Dobrudja, Rumania)
F. P. A. NO. 4: at Varna
F. P. A. NO. 5: at Tulcea (Rumania)
F. P. A. NO. 6: at Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik (Tolbukhin)
F. P. A. NO. 7: at Bucharest (Rumania)
F. P. A. NO. 8: at Adrianople
F. P. A. NO. 9: at Silistra
F. P. A. NO. 10: at Kirk-Kilise (now Kirklareli, Eastern Thrace, Turkey)
F. P. A NO. 11: at Shumen
F. P. A. NO. 12: at Plovdiv IPhilippopolis)
F. P A. NO. 13: at Orkhanie
F. P. A. NO 14. at Adrianople
F. P. A. NO 15: at Giurgiu (Rumania)
F. P. A. NO. 16: at Burgas
F. P. A. NO. 17: at Sliven
F. P. A. NO. 18: at Pleven
F. P. A. NO. 19: at Nikopol
F. P. A. NO. 20: at Yambol
In addition, there were "points" at the following places for the acceptance and distribution or ordinary mail:
(a) BURGAS, for the localities of Aitos and Karnobat
(b) DIMOTIKA, (now Didymoteichon, Western Thrace, Greece)
(c) MEGIDIE, for the localities of Kustendje (now Constanta) and Cernavoda, all three now
(d) PLOVDIV, for Kazanl'k
(e) RUSE, for Razgrad
(f) SHUMEN, for Eski Dzhumaya, Kotel, Osman Pazar, and Shumenski P't (Shumen Road,
now Kaspichan Sta.)
(g) YAMBOL, for Yeni Zagra (now Nova Zagora)
With regard to the cooperation of the field and civilian postal services and the unavoidable difficulties that arose, we
have already enlarged on this question elsewhere.
It is a very typical fact that the editorial office of the newspaper "Flying Military Leaflet," organ of the Russian
Army on active service on the Danube-Balkan front, had its own printer on hand so as to ensure quick initial dis-
tribution of the paper, not only to the units on the battlefield but also in Russia. It also organized its own postal
service in Svishtov, where the Editorial Board was located at the time. This characteristic military postal service,
which did not last for a long time, but mainly during 1877, utilized the Svishtov-Ruse-T'rnovo and Gorna Studena
routes and via Zimnicea to ensure despatch of the paper to Russia.303
The onset of 1879 also noted the imminent suspension of field postal operations in all of Bulgaria and the occupied
territories. In his report of 6 February 1879, Prince Dondukov stated that postal communications in North Bulgaria
were increasingly being placed in the hands of the military. With regard to the work of the Civilian Administration
concerning the organization and operations of its postal authority, that was practically limited to "drawing up plans
and proposals for organizing postal establishments, in the eventuality of their being transferred into the hands of the
civilian authorities." On the very day of the report, there were two main post offices working, at Sofia and T'rnovo,
an agency at Gabrovo and five ordinary stations at Berkovitsa, Lom, Sevlievo, Svishtov and Vidin, which accepted all
classes of mail, as well as a station at Pazardzhik, designated for the acceptance of ordinary correspondence only.304
On 7 February 1879, by an order from the Army Staff, the transfer was decreed of the posts and telegraphs into the
hands of the Civilian Administration. This particular order was put into effect on 1 April 1879.305 We have already
mentioned elsewhere that some of the field postal agencies had handed over their functions to the local civilian postal
stations. During March 1879, the Postal Administration was transferred to G. Voshchenin, who was to hold that
position until the end of June 1879.306
In a report by Voshchenin on 12 March 1879 to the Director of Internal Affairs at the Office of the Commissioner
in Bulgaria, it is stated that in connection with the withdrawal of Russian forces from the territories of Bulgaria and
Eastern Roumelia, steps should be taken to ensure the acceptance of soldiers' and all other classes of mail for Russia,
ordinary and insured, at all stations of the civilian and field postal services. In conclusion, Voshchenin also asked
that the Director of Military Communications also be notified about this matter so as to give the necessary instruc-
tions to the field postal agencies.307
On 14 March 1879, Professor Marin Drinov read a report at the direction of Prince Cherkasskii in one of the sessions
of the Constituent National Assembly in T'rnovo, that took place from 10 February to 16 April, in which the fol-
lowing was stated word for word about the question of postal and telegraphic affairs:
"The Director of the Department of Internal Affairs has also concerned himself with the
mails, which have still not been put in proper order. The plan for arranging the postal es-
tablishments, after which they were to pass into the hands of the Civilian Administration,
had already been prepared and examined during September (1878-D.N.M.), but the unforeseen
circumstances, which have kept the army on active service in the Balkan peninsula, have caused
the suspension of putting this plan into practice. Because of these conditions, both the Posts
and Telegraphs should be placed in the hands of the Military Administration until the oper-
ating army is withdrawn. By permission of the C.i.C., the introduction of only some portions
of the plan is to be stepped up, including also the opening of new postal routes, which are
put forward in this project."308
The field postal agencies sprang up in the liberated localities, in accordance with the Set of Regulations already re-
ferred to. They operated in the rear of the army on active service and were situated at distances of 15 km. (9-1/2
miles) from each other. The agencies were provided with mail boxes, while ordinary and registered mail, as well as
declared value letters and parcel sending were accepted at all hours of the day.309 Solders' mail was handled free
of charge. The field postal service had its own forms available; for example, we find receipts for remittances which
are headed "Field Postal Service." The registered sending of servicemen were charged for, however, at the rates
applicable in Russia. The letters which arrived were distributed by the same postal official in charge of getting them.
The Field Postal Service, as we have already mentioned at the beginning, had two types of facilities available: the
field post office and field postal agencies.310 The field post office had the figure "1" as its distinguishing serial
number, which was designated between brackets on the postmarks. For their part, the agencies each had a specific
number placed on both sides of the designated number (1) of the field post office. Originally, the main and para-
mount services of the Civilian Administration had the same designations as the military ones, namely offices and
As has been noticed, practically throughout the whole period of the war, a clear duplication existed in the working
of postal communications between the operations of the civilian and military mails. This was obviously imposed by
and due to the military situation.
Problems constantly arose between the Army Staff and the Civilian Administration, whose solutions were dictated
exclusively by the interests of the military. The Department of Military Communications was under the control of
the Army Staff, while the postal and telegraphic services under the Civilian Administration were very closely sub-
ordinate to the military. The Field Postal Service was charged with concerning itself to ensure regular letter com-
munications both at the front line, as well as with Russia. For its part, the Civilian Administration was obliged,
among other things, to open and organize postal routes and stations in liberated Bulgarian territory, and to take
care of their finances and proper functioning. It was natural that they would originally be placed at the command
and disposal of the military authorities.
Due to unavoidable circumstances, the work of both postal administrations was often interwoven and this compli-
cated to a certain degree their individual operations. That was why the pattern of the Civilian Mail Service was at
times almost lost. It looked more and more like a branch of the Field Postal Service, being sometimes even taken
as a military post. Only the postmarks utilized by its stations showed evidence of its existence.
In a report by Prince Dondukov, dated 16 June 1878 and already referred to, this position was specifically pointed
out. The military situation and circumstances often obliged the Civilian Mail Service to be at times completely and
"temporarily" (we must emphasize this) at the disposal of the Department of Military Communications at Army
In spite of these conditions, the leadership of the Russian civilian postal service performed its work tirelessly. The
dependence on the military was not regarded as a reason for avoiding, and did not disturb the performance of the
basic tasks placed before it, and these tasks were very important, both in terms of time and outlook. In the liber-
ated localities in Bulgaria, the Russians did not even find a trace of the Turkish post offices existing formerly.
Where there had been a few stations here and there at the larger population centres, they were for the most part in
disorder and upon the approach of the Russian forces, the Turks even took along with them the sparse stock of their
postal and telegraphic stations. Not to mention the roads, which were to be found, in their turn, neglected and in a
Because of this situation, the implementation of a great task stood before the Russian Civilian Postal Service; the
restoration of the neglected roads and disorganized postal stations inherited from the Turks, the extension and open-
ing new routes and agencies, etc. This enormous task was completed with honor, in spite of these great difficulties.
In this way can the fact be explained that on 1 May 1879 when the Bulgarian Administration was established, the
Bulgarians inherited, among other things, from the previous Russian Civilian Postal Administration, expanded and
improved routes with actively working stations and the necessary equipment therein, together with a well-organized
telegraphic network. We may conclude from all this that these two Russian postal services constituted the founda-
tions for the present-day Bulgarian National Posts.
It was originally intended that the posts and telegraphs should pass completely into the hands of the Civilian Admin-
istration during September 1878, but again the interests of the military became a reason for putting this off
In connection with the stipulations imposed by the Treaty of Berlin, a great movement of the forces with a view to
their being evacuated now cropped up. A proper and appropriate fusion of postal operations was now imperative.
On this occasion, Trubacheev proposed that the "Commission for the Field Postal Service," specially set up for this
purpose, should have entry points organized at Svishtov and later at Ruse for the exchange of mail and parcels for
the army stationed in North Bulgaria. A similar point was also to be established at Burgas with a view to being at
the disposal of army units, departing from South Bulgaria. In addition to this, postal agencies also had to be opened
at each individual army detachment. With regard to this work, the C.i.C. and Prince Dondukov decided that "the
military mails be united with the civilian service until the final evacuation of the forces."
The proposals of Trubacheev having been adopted, he was appointed as the official responsible for this newly-
established condition. In this capacity, he was subordinate to the Director of Army Staff, so far as the interests of
the Field Postal Service were concerned, and to the Imperial Commissioner in Bulgaria regarding the Civilian Postal
Service. Other measures were also envisaged, apart from the above mentioned new stipulations and conditions re-
garding Russian postal affairs in Bulgaria, caused by the evacuation of the forces. We will now quote word for word
from the recollections of Trubacheev:
"Immediately thereafter, the appointment of Krenke, General of the Engineers, as Director of
Military Communications came about. The following sections formed part of military com-
munications: the Field Postal Service, the Telegraphic Service, the Railroad Department and
the Division for Halting Places. As the campaign had now ended, the newly appointed Director
of Military Communications prepared everything for evacuation and put off the problems re-
lating to the Civilian Postal Service. Meanwhile, the Imperial Commissioner, in proceeding
with organizing the country, required of me the establishment of the Postal Service in Bulgaria.
The Chief of Army Staff, in retaining contacts with me, except with regard to directing military
communications, presented his own requirements and Adjutant-General Drentel, the Director
of the Rear Line of the Army, to whom I was also subordinate to a certain degree, placed on a
firm footing the transmission of mail between Bucharest and the G.H.Q. I encountered diffi-
culties in everything I undertook. It was necessary to restore the movement of mails along the
Danube, but I could not get steamers. Thanks to the kindness of the Austrian Lloyd Company,
it came about that the delivery of correspondence was established along the Danube (Trubacheev
has unintentionally made a mistake here in referring to the Austrian Lloyd; actually the
D.D.S.G. or Austrian Danube Steamship Company should be understood here note by D.N.M.),
free of charge on their steamers.
It is useless to talk about money probelms. The solution of these was always accompanied by
arguments as for what account expenditures had to be indemnified. Let us look at why it was
ordered that the two postal services, civilian and field, be unified. The officials of the Civilian
Administration and I did not receive complaints for three months. The Director of Military
Communications did not interfere in this affair. Then I wrote to the Chief of Army Staff,
who replied that looking after the maintenance of postal officials in the Civilian Administration
was the duty of the Imperial Russian Commissioner. I turned to the Commissioner. Prince
Dondukov-Korsakov informed me that because of the temporary fusion of the civilian and
field postal services, the ranks of the civilian postal service should receive maintenance from the
military authorities. Finally, after a long correspondence lasting three months, this matter was
settled. I left Bulgaria in September 1878 and returned to St. Petersburg. After my departure,
the evacuation was carried out, the Field Postal Service dismantled and the Civilian Postal
Service passed under the control of the Imperial Russian Commissioner in Bulgaria." 313
LIST OF FIELD POSTAL STATIONS AND POINTS DURING 1877-79
Bulgaria Eastern Roumelia
1. Eski Dzhumaya (now T'rgovishte) point. 1. Aidos (now Aitos) point.
2. Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik (Dobrich, now Tolbukhin). 2. Burgas
3. Nikopol 3. Karnobat point.
4. Orkhanie (now Botevgrad) 4. Kazan (now Kotel) point.
5. Osman Pazar (now Omurtag) point. 5. Kazanl'k point.
6. Pleven 6. Philippopolis (now Plovdiv)
7. Razgrad point. 7. Sliven
8. Rustchuk (now Ruse) 8. Yambol
9. Shumenski P't (Shumla Road, now Kaspichan)-point. 9. Yeni Zagra (now Nova Zagora) point.
10. Shumla (now Shumen)
11 S-. .European Turkey
12. Sistov (now Svishtov)
13. Sofia 1. Adrianople (Odrin)
14. T'rnovo 2. Dimotika point.
15. Varna 3. Kirk-Kilise
We will look at the field postal agencies in the Dobrudja and Rumania separately, a little further on.
Both the Civilian and Field Postal Services each had separate cancellers available, which were distinguishable from the
other service by their inscriptions.
The Field Postal Service had on hand five known types of postmarkers, which were prepared in Russia. Three of
them, which were dated, served for cancelling mail and the other two for wax sealings on valuable sending. The
field post office only had a dated postmarker available and the agencies a canceller in one of four types, varying ac-
cording to their inscriptions. We will now note the specific types of markings, with our classification for clarity.
THE FIELD POST OFFICE MARKING:
1F. A marking, composed of two concentric circles, the diameter of the inner circle being 26 mm. The inscrip-
tion between the circles reads "POLEVAYA POCHT. KONTORA" (Field Post Office), the date is in three lines in
the centre, and at bottom between the circles there is the serial number of the office placed between brackets,
2F. Similar to the above, but with the inscription "POLEVOE POCHT. OTDELENIE" (Field Postal Agency)
and with the same dating arrangement. At bottom there is the appropriate serial number of the respective agency,
placed on both sides of the field post office number, thus: 2 (1)2, 7 (1) 7, 12 (1) 12, 18 (1) 18, etc. Same size.
3F. As before, but with the inscription shortened further to "POLEV POCHT. OTDELENIE," Same size.314
4F. A single-circle metal seal, 28 m.m. in diameter, with an inscription incised therein reading "POLEVAGO
POCHT. OTDELENIYA" (of the Field Postal Agency) and at bottom between brackets the number (1) of the office,
with those of the postal agency on both sides. The Russian State Coat of Arms is in the centre and below it the
abbreviation "STR. KORR." (Insured Correspondence). Valuable letters or sending containing money were sealed
with red wax by this marking, on being handed in.315
5F. A single-circle metal seal, 28 m.m. in diameter, with an inscription incised therein reading "POLEVAGO
POCHT. OTDELENIYA," at bottom the number of the office between brackets (1), and on both sides those of the
agency. The Russian State Coat of Arms is in the centre.316
Up to now, a single-line marking in an octagonal frame, measuring 39 x 13.5 m.m. and reading "BEZ. PLAT."
(i.e., an abbreviation for BEZ PLATEZHA or "without payment") had also been regarded as a marking of the Field
Postal Service. However, it has subsequently been established that this particular one-line cachet does not belong to
the Field Postal Service in Bulgaria.317
Let us now look at the problem of establishing and operating the Russian field postal and telegraphic agencies in the
Northern Dobrudja.318 In contrast to the Southern Dobrudja, postal services under the authority of the Civilian
Administration were not set up in the part of this historic province alluded to here, in spite of the presence of that
The first crossing of the Danube by the Russian forces during the war of 1877-78, took place in conformance with
tactical reasons in the north-western part of the Dobrudja three days before the forcing of the central section of the
river between Zimnicea and Svishtov. The town of Macin was taken on 11 June 1877, Cernavodg fell on the follow-
ing day, on 14 June the Russian forces entered Isaccea and Tulcea, and two days later they also occupied Babadag.
The hamlet of Mahmudiye (now Mahmudia), situated on the Sf. Gheorghe sleeve of the Danube, was also captured
at the same time. Shortly thereafter, the Black Sea port of Kustendje (now Constanta) met the Russians on 3 July
1877, almost at the same time as Megidie and Murfatlar, lying on the Kustendje-Cernavoda railroad.318
We learn about the opening of the Russian field postal and telegraphic stations in the Northern Dobrudja mainly
from the Bulgarian newspaper "B'lgarin," from circular No. 1618 for 9 November 1878 of the Postal Administration
in Bulgaria and from circular No. 11984 of 28 November 1878 from the Field Post Office, as well as from some
other official documents. Unfortunately, we are unable at this moment to verify the documents included in a file
inscribed "Correspondence with the Civilian Administration of Tulcea province about the establishment of the mails
1877-1878," because of the fact that they were found in very bad condition and they are now being restored.
There is no doubt we will also be able to find out some other very interesting data and details from this particular
file, which would shed further light on the problem. This we will do at the first opportunity that presents itself.
A telegraphic link was first established between Tulcea and the town of Ismail, opposite to it in Bessarabia. This is
evident from letter No. 1101 of 10 December 1877 from the Russian Civilian Administration in Tulcea.319 We
learn from letter No. 1102, of the same date and from the same administration that the telegraph station at Tulcea
was opened during July 1877.320 There is mention in the draft of an undated "report," which according to us must
be from around the end of 1877, that telegraphic links existed along the following sections:
(a) Ismail-Tulcea (d) Tulcea-Mahmudiye
(b) Tulcea-Babadag (e) Tulcea-lsaccea
The total length of the line was 249 versts (166 miles).321
The newspaper "B'lgarin," in its issue of 5 November 1877, published the following information in its chronicle of
events: "It is announced from the Administration of Military Posts and Telegraphs that the telegraphic agencies at
Bokhot, Pordim, Mahmudiye, Megedie and Murfatlar are also open for private correspondence." Of these five
agencies, the first two are located near Pleven in Bulgaria and the remaining three in the Northern Dobrudja. Their
opening probably took place during the second half of October 1877.
There are very interesting data in circular No. 1618 of 9 November 1878 from the Postal Administration in Bulgaria,
located at that time in Adrianople, and addressed to some of the more important postal stations. It can be deter-
mined from this circular that the forces now had quite stable postings, thus permitting their being stationed at
specific localities. We learn from the circular that the 3rd and 5th field postal agencies were situated at Megidie and
Tulcea respectively, which accepted and distributed ordinary mail, and that there were postal points at Cernavod,
and Kustendje with the same functions, and subordinate to the 3rd field postal agency at Megidie. 322 It is indicated
among other things in circular No. 11984 of 28 November 1878 from the Field Post Office at Adrianople and sent
around to the field and "local" (i.e., civilian) postal stations in Bulgaria, that mail destined for the 5th field postal
agency at Tulcea was to be sent to the 1st field postal agency at Ruse, which in turn would forward it to Tulcea.323
The correspondence handed in at all the above mentioned field postal agencies bears the postmark of the respective
agency. The so-called postal "points" did not have cancellers available and the mail handed into them was post-
marked with the cancellers of the agencies to which they were subordinate.
The Russian field postal agencies and receiving points lasted until the final withdrawal of the troops in the first
months of 1879. As is evident from a telegram by General Krenke, dated 11 February 1879 and sent from Burgas
to General Gresser in T'rnovo, all these agencies were under the direct control of the military and operated for
We think it appropriate to look at yet another interesting document linked with postal affairs in the Dobrudja at
that time. This concerns telegram No. 763 from the governor at Tulcea, Ivan Vasil'evich Belotserkovskii, sent to
Prince Cherkasskii who was then stationed at the G.H.Q. in Gabrovo and recorded at the office of the Civilian Ad-
ministration under entry No. 26 on 8 January 1878.325 It is stated therein that the Austrian postal service in the
Dobrudja intended to open links between Tulcea and Kustendje and Belotserkovskii wanted an appropriate ruling on
the matter. From this telegram, the great interest of the Austrian postal system in restoring as quickly as possible
the operations broken off by the war becomes apparent, even though military activities were still in progress. We
cannot say what was the reply to this telegram, as the relevant documents are missing.
LIST OF THE FIELD POSTAL AGENCIES AND POINTS IN THE DOBRUDJA DURING 1877-79
1. Babadag (telegraph) 5. Mahmudiye (telegraph)
2. Cernavoda (point) 6. Megedie 3rd f.p.a.
3. Isaccea (telegraph) 7. Murfatlar (telegraph)
4. Kustendje (point) 8. Tulcea 5th f.p.a.
Already by the day war was declared on 12 April 1877, the Russian forces began crossing the Rumanian frontier, in
accordance with the convention concluded earlier between Rumania and Russia, and turned south towards the
Danube. On 1 May 1877, the General Staff of the Russian army operating on the Danube-Balkan front was estab-
lished at Ploiesti, where it was to remain until 10 June 1877. The Field Postal Administration was installed in the
same city, together with Field Post Office No. 1, which latter had as its area of operations, through its dependent
agencies and points, Rumania and the lands south of the Danube, i.e., Bulgaria, Thrace, etc.
By virtue of Article No. 1 of a special convention signed at Bucharest on 4 April 1877, the Rumanian Government
permitted the Russians to utilize the postal and telegraphic services in existence over the entire territory of Rumania.
There is a specific reference in Article No. 17 of this convention about these Rumanian post offices, in connection
with the use of their facilities by the Russians. In another article, the question of establishing Russian staging points
in Rumania is touched upon in connection with the transit and movements of the military forces out of the country.
A month later on 2 May 1877 a convention was also concluded at Bucharest, noting the reciprocal relations between
the Russian field postal agencies and the Rumanian post offices throughout the duration of hostilities. It was in this
manner that the first Russian field postal agencies brought in being and commenced their operations on Rumanian
On 1 May 1877, C. Pilat, the Director-General of the Rumanian Postal Service informed the Minister of Internal
Affairs at Bucharest of the manner in which the Russo-Rumanian cooperation was to be developed in the domain of
posts and telegraphs. In this report, it is stated, among other things, that Russian telegraphic clerks were being al-
lowed into all Rumanian post and telegraphic offices to transmit telegrams in the Russian language and especially
those whose text was written in Cyrillic. Moreover the Russians at the post offices received from the Rumanians
letters addressed to the Russian army and handed over mail that had to be transmitted through the Rumanian Postal
Service to Russia.
It can be seen in a letter from Bucharest, dated 12 June 1877, that Russian telegraphists were also located at the
Rumanian postal and telegraph stations at Islaz and Corabia (on the Danube).
The Russians opened their postal agency at Braila on 1 June 1877. Originally, this was located at the house of
Cleopatra Lemani. It was moved from there to the RoSu Inn, according to letter No. 5102 of 8 July 1877, sent by
the prefect of Braila to the mayor of the city. A little later, it was transferred again, as the Rosu Inn did not provide
"complete security." The Russian postal agency at Braila had on hand armed protection, two drivers, two postilions
and 6 horses.
On the other hand, the prefect of the city of Buz5u reported to the Ministry of Internal Affairs that Schonberg, the
secretary at the Russian Postal and Telegraphic Administration, asked that he obtain cooperation in opening Russian
postal and telegraphic agencies at Buzau and the hamlets of Casota and Movila Banului in the district. A Russian
field postal agency also operated at the town of BSrlad. It was housed in a four-room building, the property of
G. Vasiliu and located on the main street of the town.
We learn, from letter No. 9367 for 11 December 1877, sent to the City Hall by B. M. Misir, the prefect of Br5ila,
about the establishment of a Russian route between Braila and Cernavodg. Stations for changing horses were situated
along this route at the villages of Stelnica, Vladeni, Luciu Vechi and Tufesti. This particular route was served by
postilions, an armed guard, drivers and its own horses.
In spite of the fact that the Russian forces had crossed the Danube into Bulgaria during the night of 14/15 June
1877 and advanced successfully, the Administration of Postal Communications of the Russian Army continued to be
located in the Rumanian capitol of Bucharest during the first few days of December 1877. We learn of this from
letter No. 203, dated 6 December at Bucharest, from this Administration to Trubacheev, the official responsible for
the Russian Civilian Postal Service in Bulgaria.327 The Staff of the Russian Forces in the Rear also continued to be
stationed in the Rumanian capital, which was the main connecting centre with Russia, during the summer of 1878,
according to a document.328 In this way it can be explained why the 7th field postal agency, subordinated to
Field Post Office No. 1, operated in Bucharest.
There is also word about the activities of this agency at Bucharest in circular No. 1618, dated 9 November 1878,
from the Postal Administration in Bulgaria to the postal stations in the country.329 We learn from letter No. 11984,
dated 28 November 1878, from the Field Post Office, then situated at Adrianople, that the 7th agency remained
even longer at Bucharest. Mail destined for it had to be forwarded via the 1st field postal agency at Ruse.330 Ac-
cording to Tchilinghirian, the competent investigator of the Russian Posts abroad, the canceller of the 4th field
postal agency was applied at Bucharest towards the end of 1877.331 This may have been the case during 1877 and
for a certain period in 1878 but we encounter this particular agency mentioned in the list of field postal agencies,
operating around the middle of 1878 in Bulgaria, namely at Varna, according to circular No. 1618, mentioned above.
With regard to Galatz, we learn from this same circular that the 2nd field postal agency was located in this city.332
During February 1878 the mail between Russia and Bulgaria and vice-versa was already being despatched by mail
coach No. 75 on the newly-opened Bendery-Galatz railroad, according to circular No. 1, of the Russian Postal
Administration at St. Petersburg.333 It can be assumed from this that the 2nd field postal agency was situated at
Galatz as of the beginning of 1878. It becomes clear from letter No. 11984 quoted earlier that sometime in the last
ten days of November, this agency suspended operations, being moved to Reni in Bessarabia. The mail destined for
this agency already had to be sent to Reni, via the 1st field postal agency, which was located at Ruse (Rustchuk).334
We have at our disposal a series of data relating to the opening and operations of the field postal agency at Gyurgevo
(Giurgiu, Rumania). With the establishment of the Russian Army at the walls of Constantinople and the conclusion
of the Treaty of San Stefano, the situation had changed drastically. Instead of Svishtov and Zimnitsa (now Zimnicea,
Rumania), whose role had dwindled appreciably, other towns now became communication centres between Bulgaria
and Russia. They were Ruse, the main Bulgarian port on the Danube and a station on the Ruse-Varna railroad, and
Giurgiu, the Rumanian port opposite Ruse and the first station on the Giurgiu-Bucharest railway. This was the
reason why the 15th field postal agency was moved on 15 February 1878 from Zimnicea, where it had been hitherto
located, to Giurgiu. We learn about this from letter No. 5050 of the same date, sent by the Field Postal Administra-
tion, which was itself also moved from Svishtov to Ruse.335 It was in this way that an agency of the Russian Field
Postal Service was established at Giurgiu. There is a note in letter No. 11984 mentioned earlier about its closing, as
its staff had been recalled to Adrianople. Mail addressed to this agency at Giurgiu now had to be desptached to
Ruse.336 It may be concluded from all this that the 15th field postal agency had operated in Giurgiu from 15 Feb-
ruary 1878 until the second half of November 1878, being then moved to Adrianople.
The two Russian postal agencies at Zimnicea, field and civilian, were among the first ones established on Rumanian
territory, with a direct link to Bulgaria, with the aim of maintaining communications with Russia and vice-versa. Side
by side with similar agencies in Svishtov, which was situated on the Bulgarian bank of the Danube opposite Zimnicea,
these agencies played a very important role for close on six months. The civilian and field postal agencies at Zimni-
cea, whose operations complemented each other, were opened by the beginning of October 1877. Let us look above
all at the civilian postal agency. Konstantin Radchenko reports its opening in his letter dated 15 October 1877.337
Prince Cherkasskii, the Director of the Civilian Administration in Bulgaria proposed, for his part in a report entered
under No. 63 on 24 September 1877 and sent to the C.i.C. of the army that, among other things, a route be set up
from Zimnicea via Svishtov and T'rnovo to Gabrovo, with eight stations along it including one at Zimnicea.338
Between Zimnicea and Svishtov, communications were carried out with boats and, during the winter, with sleighs.
The sum of 10 rubles was originally disbursed in providing the station at Zimnicea with the most necessary equip-
ment.339 We also learn about the provision of mail boxes at the station from an inventory of the items despatched,
dated November 1877.340 It is stated in telegram No. 330 of 19 November 1877 from Trubacheev at Svishtov to
Cherkasskii that the postal link between Svishtov and Zimnitsa was completely assured.341 The Russian Civilian
postal service at Zimnicea was installed in the house of Constantine Copolides, a Rumanian citizen.342 We have
available eight documents relating to the closing of this station. As we have already mentioned, the conclusion of
the Treaty of San Stefano also had repercussions on communications, among other things. Both Svishtov and Zim-
nicea lost their original great importance and their places were taken by Ruse and Giurgiu. By 5 February 1878,
Trubacheev, in a letter to General Anuchin, was already proposing the closing of the station at Zimnicea. 343 Two
telegrams, again to Anuchin and dated 7 and 9 March 1878 followed on the same question.344 In a telegram from
Anuchin to Trubacheev, dated 10 March 1878, permission was granted to close down the Zimnitsa station.345 It
was regarded as being finally closed as of 4 April, in accordance with letter No. 390 of 12 March 1878 from the
Director of the Postal Division in Bulgaria.346 The transitory character of the station, together with its short-lived
operations, may explain the absence of its canceller. As we have already noted, the field postal agency at Zimnicea
also began operations, around the beginning of October 1877. The 15th field postal agency carried on operations
there and this continued until 14 February 1878 when the agency was transferred to Giurgiu.
The postal station for changing horses at Brigadiru, situated 17-1/2 versts (12 miles) north-east of Zimnicea, on the
road to Bucharest, was opened during the first few days of October 1877. This becomes apparent from a letter by
K. Radchenko, dated 15 October 1877, in which there is mention of the establishment of postal stations, both at
Brigadiru and Zimnicea.347 The station at Brigadiru lasted until the end of 1877, serving only for the conveyance
of mail between Zimnicea and Bucharest. There was neither a civilian nor a field postal agency at Brigadiru and for
these reasons it did not have on hand its own postal cancellers.
It would be imperative for us to look also at the role played by the Rumanian postal station in Zimnicea in working
with the Russian postal agencies in the same city. We have four documents available in this regard dating from 18
& 27 November and 14 December 1877 and another from 8 January 1878.348 We will only examine two of them
which we found to be the most essential. In a telegram dated 27 November 1877 and sent to General Drentel at
Bucharest, it was ordered he notify the Rumanian Postal Administration that in accordance with article No. 10 and
others of the Convention of the U.P.U., the newly established Russian postal service in Bulgaria had begun operations
and would be despatching all classes of mail in a few days for Russia and other European countries. This correspon-
dence would be forwarded by the post office at Svishtov to the Rumanian post office at Zimnicea. We learn from
letter No. 5 of 1 January 1878 from Trubacheev to Cherkasskii that the Civilian Postal Service in Bulgaria would be
receiving all mail for the country from the "Rumanian post office" at Zimnicea, while the Field Postal Service,
which had been established on a temporary basis (in Bulgaria) would only accept mail destined for the military forces.
LIST OF THE MILITARY POSTAL AGENCIES OPERATING IN RUMANIA DURING 1877-79
Location Opening Date Closing Date
1. BSrlad May 1877 ?
2. BrSila 1 June 1877 ?
3. Brigadiru beginning October 1877 end of 1877
4. Bucharest summer of 1877 1879
5. Buzau May 1877 ?
6. Casota May 1877 ?
7. Galatz (Galati) beginning 1878 November 1878
8. Giurgiu 15 February 1878 November 1878
9. Luciu Vechi end November 1877 ?
10. Movila Banului May 1877 ?
11. Ploiesti 1 May 1877 10 June 1877
12. Stelnica end November 1877 ?
13. Tufesti end November 1877 ?
14. Zimnicea beginning October 1877 14 February 1878
The 11th field postal agency also operated in Rumania, but it is not possible to say exactly where, at present. It ap-
pears to have functioned around the end of 1877, since we meet the same agency during 1878, situated somewhere
in the T'rnovo-Gabrovo area in Bulgaria.
A series of Rumanian field postal agencies were also opened in Northern and Northwestern Bulgaria from about the
middle of 1877 to March 1878, during the period of hostilities. There was very close cooperation between the
Rumanian and Russian field postal services. Thus, in a letter sent from Pordim on 13 September 1877 and signed
by Lt. Col. C. Pilat, the former Director-General of the Rumanian Posts and now mobilized as the Assistant Chief
of Staff of the Rumanian Army, there is a request that the Rumanian routes also accept for forwarding all classes of
military mail from and to Nikopol. In another letter, also from Pordim on 9 December 1877, Lt. Col. Pilat asked
General Al. Cernat to arrange for postal links between the Village of V'rbitsa (Pleven district) and the Russian army
corps under General A. Arnoldi to be completed by the intermediation of General Haralambie at Oryakhovo. In a
report from Lom, dated 9 December 1877, there is word that the 3rd Squadron at the Village of Rusevo should
implement postal communications between "our forces and those of the Imperial Russian Army." We also learn
about the same thing from an earlier report dated 10 October 1877. By an order, issued on 14 December 1877 at
Lom, the commander of the First Rumanian Division instructed the colonel in charge of the Cavalry Brigade that
"ten cavalrymen and a brigade-leader from the squadrons at Lom should remain at the Village of Rusevo, so as to
assure postal links between the Division Staff and General Arnoldi."
For its part, the Russian Field Postal Service also cooperated closely with the Rumanian Service stationed in Bulga-
ria. There is word in a letter from the General commanding the 4th Russian Cavalry Division, sent on 24 November
1877 from the Village of D'lgodeltsi to General Cernat, about organizing Russian field postal links and proposing
the formation of two routes for contact with the Rumanian Field Postal Service.349
Let us now look at some problems closely linked with the activities of the Russian Civilian Postal Service in
Bulgaria during the 1877-79 period.
As we have already seen, the rates applicable in Russia were established in charging for all private postal sending -
letters, money and parcels. The current Russian stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps and postcards with or
without imprinted stamp were also in use. Because of the lack of stamps at some places, the rate was paid in cash
by the sender in advance. In some cases, it was also paid by the addressee himself to the postilion, when the letter
was handed over. In such cases, the amount owing was noted on the back of the letter.350 There were even in-
stances where strict control had not yet been introduced and the postilions, who were also called "poshtari" (mail-
men), carried letters for a certain consideration, either in money or in produce.351 Mail sent abroad was also
charged for, in accordance with the international rates established in Russia. It is interesting to note that the mer-
chants at Gabrovo renewed their mail contacts with clients and suppliers in Austria immediately after military opera-
tions had quieted down. They sent their letters, first by the field postal service and also through the civilian
facilities.352 The same applied also to merchants in other larger Bulgarian towns who had links with abroad. Letters
going abroad were franked with Russian stamps and when none were available, the rate was paid in cash by the
sender. Rumanian stamps were sometimes also used to frank such letters and, for all that, mailed at Russian offices
and thus cancelled with their dated postmarkers.353 There were cases where unpaid letters were sent through the
Russian Field Postal Service in Rumania and upon arrival at Rumanian post offices, the appropriate amount due was
noted on the envelope and paid for by the addressee.354
The conveyance of the mails was carried out by uniformed postilions, wearing red trousers and utilizing special
buggies, open carts or covered wagons, originally under military protection.355
The arrival and departure of the postal cart was regarded as a great event at that time and it was preceded by bugle
blasts. Anyone who was expecting to receive a letter, had to ask for it himself at the post office.
All the postal stations had on hand the necessary forms, receipts, etc.
One of the characteristic and typical features, which firmly delineates the form of the Russian postal services in
Bulgaria, Eastern Roumelia, Thrace and Rumania, is the utilization by them of dated cancellers, which vary in shape
and inscriptions. Just by themselves, they constitute an especially important documentation. The postal stations
placed under the authority of the Provisional Russian Civilian Administration had available cancellers which were
quite different from those of the Field Postal Service.356 The names of the localities were designated, most often
in their Turkish form and even then with mistakes.
At the end of 1877, dated cancellers were delivered and utilized at the offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and the
agency at Gabrovo only. They performed postal functions in the basic meaning of the term the acceptance and
distribution of the mail.
Bearing in mind the impending opening of postal establishments, Prince Cherkasskii turned to St. Petersburg by a
telegram on 16 September 1877 for the despatch of the necessary stock. In letter No. 16519, for 20 September
1877, Baron Velyo, the Minister for the Postal Department notified Cherkasskii that the required items were being
sent. Among other items specified under serial numbers in a list attached to the letter are the following:
No. 1: Seals for insured correspondence
No. 2: Ordinary cancellers for letters
No. 3: Cancellers for postmarking documents
No. 5: Steel cancellers "with all their parts."
No. 6: Cachets for unpaid mail
The quantities of the cancellers despatched were three of each kind, for the two offices and the agency at Gabrovo
Almost one month later the following items were despatched with letter No. 1285 of 18 October 1877 from the
Postal Department (in St. Petersburg), addressed to the Civilian Administration, according to the inventory attached:
Serial No. 1: Cancellers three in number
No. 2: Steel cancellors "with all their parts" three
No. 5: Cachets for unpaid mail three.358
Furthermore, it appears from an inventory, dated 18 October 1877 and including a listing of 28 items, attached to
letter No. 1659 of 1 November 1877 from the Civilian Administration to the post office at Svishtov, that the above-
mentioned items had been despatched.359 The three postal establishments mentioned confirmed the receipt of these
types of markings by documents dated 13 November 1877. We note herewith our classification of the specific types
of cancels for the sake of clarity:
DATED CANCELLERS FOR POST OFFICES
1C. Canceller made from steel, single-circle type with diameter 23.5 mm. circumferential inscription, reading
"SISTOVSKAYA P.K." at top in Russian and "SVISHTOVSKA POSHTENSKA KONT" at bottom in Bulgarian
(both meaning "Svishtov Post Office"), both texts being separated at each side by the figure "1", the number of the
post office. The date is in three lines in the center, the month being indicated by its first three letters and the year
figures given in full. For the post office at T'rnovo, the canceller has the inscription "TRYNOVSKAYA P.K./
TYRNOVSKA POSHTENSKA KONT." These cancellers were in use from 27 November 1877, the date when the
receipt and distribution of ordinary correspondence began, as well as the sale of postage stamps, envelopes with im-
printed stamps and two types of postcards, with and without imprinted stamp.360
DATED CANCELLER FOR THE POSTAL AGENCY
2C. Postmarker identical with the above, but with the inscription reading "GABROVSKOE P.O." at top in
Russian and "GABROVSKO POSHTENSKO OTD." at bottom in Bulgarian (both meaning "Gabrovo Postal
Agency"). All the remaining data given under 1C. also apply here.
METALLIC CANCELLERS WITH NUMBER "1"
The second type of cancellers, which were also utilized from the end of November 1877 and have hitherto re-
mained unknown, are the following:
3C. Metallic single-circle postmarker, 30 mm. in diameter. The circumferential inscription reads "SISTOVSKOI
P.K." at top in Russian and "SVISHTOVSKA POSHTENSKA KONTORA" at bottom in Bulgarian, separated at
each side by a small star and with the term "No. 1" in large type. For the office at T'rnovo, the canceller is in-
cribed "TYRNOVSKOI P.K./TYRNOVSKA POSHTENSKA KONTORA."362
4C. Postmarker, presumably identical with the above and intended for the postal agency at Gabrovo, with an
appropriate inscription. All remaining data should be similar to those applicable under type 3C. We are unable to
reproduce its inscription as we have not as yet seen an example.363
We have encountered these postmarks, specifically type 3C. for the post offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo struck in
black on letters in the form of travel permits, issued to official personages. We suggest, and it is not in the least
excluded, that some of the more important postal sending were sealed with markings of types 3C and 4C. These
markings may be regarded as being of an administrative character.
CACHETS FOR UNPAID MAIL
5C. The third type of marking, also utilized from the end of November 1877 and which has hitherto remained
unknown, was a type intended to indicate unpaid correspondence. It was in the form of the capital letter "T," en-
closed by a circle of 20 m.m. in diameter. Utilized at Svishtov, T'rnovo and Gabrovo.364
The other types of markings, about which there was reference in the letters mentioned above, had not been delivered
by the end of 1877. The markings designated for insured correspondence were delivered later on, at the very begin-
ning of 1878.
We have found no documentation at all in the archives examined about the dated postal cancellers that were placed
in use during 1878. Information was only found available regarding the markings destined for insured correspondence.
In a letter No. 182, dated 1 February 1878, from VI. Trubacheev, the Director of the Postal Division in Bulgaria, to
the Head of the Department of Civilian Affairs in Bulgaria, it is stated that with regard to the imminent introduction
of the service of accepting insured mail at the Svishtov and T'rnovo offices, as well as at the Gabrovo agency, it
would be necessary to have metal markings delivered for sealing sending with wax. We also find specimen impres-
sions in red wax of these seals attached to the letter. Thanks to this action, we are able to specify the type and
dimensions of these markings which have hitherto remained unknown.365 They were distributed to the three rele-
vant postal establishments on 1 February 1878. This fact becomes apparent from letter No. 154, dated 26 March
1878 from the Gabrovo postal agency, in which the receipt is acknowledged of Seal No. 1 for "insured correspon-
dence," sent with letter No. 181 of 1 Febraury 1878.366
The types of markings placed in use during 1878 are the following:
CANCELLERS FOR POST OFFICES
6C. A marking similar to 1C., with a diameter of 25 m.m. and having the word "KONTORA" in the Bulgarian
text of the inscription written in full and not abbreviated to "KONT." as before. The T'rnovo office had this
7C. Similar to 6C. above, but with a diameter of 26 m.m. and utilized at the Svishtov office.
CANCELLERS FOR POSTAL AGENCIES
8C. A single-circle type with a diameter of 26 m.m. The circumferential inscription reads "GABROVSKOE
P.O." at top in Russian and "GABROVSKO POSHTENSKO OTDEL." at bottom in Bulgarian. The two texts are
separated at each side by the figure "1," the number of the office. The remaining details are as for marking 1C.
9C. The same as for 8C, used also at the Gabrovo postal agency, but with the Russian text in the inscription
now reading "GABROVSKOE P.OT." 367
As may have been noticed, they are similar in type to the markings of 1877.
The second type in the 1878 series consists of metal dated cancellers, which may be distinguished by having the
months designated in Roman numerals, with the exception of a single one showing the first three letters of the
month. Another distinguishing feature is the variation in sizes, letter styles and individual graphical elements. These
cancellers were in use in Northern Bulgaria.
10C. Two concentric circles, with diameters of 26 and 18 m.m. respectively, inscribed "TYRNOV" at top in
Russian and "TRNOV" at bottom in Bulgarian. With a small star at each side separating the names, the month is
shown abbreviated to the first three letters, while the year is given in full.
11C. Cancellers identical in size to 10C. above. Name of the town at top in Russian and at bottom in Bulgarian.
There is a small rosette at each side, between the names and the date is in three lines in the center. Such markings
are known from BERKOVATS/BERKOVTSA, PLEVNA/PLEVEN, RUSHCHUK/RUSCHUK, SELVI/SEVLIEVO,
SHUMLA/SHUMEN, SISTOV/SVISHTOV, SOFIYA/SREDETS, VIDDIN/VIDIN, etc.
12C. Identical to 11C. but with the name of the town being the same in both Russian and Bulgarian. We find
these cancellers used at NIKOPOL, ORKHANIE, SILISTRA and VARNA.
13C. Marking identical to 10C. but with diameters of 25 and 17 m.m. respectively, the inscription at top reading
"LOM PALANKA, while at bottom there are two crossed posthorns, the emblem of the Postal Service.
14C. Marking identical to 10C. At top "RUSHCHUK" in Russian and at bottom a large ornament. 368
15C. A single-circle metal marking with a diameter of 35 m.m. for the offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo. The type
for T'rnovo has a circular inscription reading at top "TYRNOVSKOI POCHT. KONT." in Russian and at bottom
"NA T'RNOVSK'-T' POSHT. KONT," the last two being the broad b sound and the centre in three lines:
which may be deciphered as reading "STRAKHOVAYA KORRESPONDENTSIYA" in Russian and "SUGURITELNA
KORESPONDENTSIYA" in Bulgaria, both standing for insured mail of the T'rnovo post office. The cancel for
Svishtov has the inscription "SISTOVSKOI POCHT. KONT." in Russian and "NA SVISHTOVSKA-TA POSHT.
KONT." at bottom in Bulgarian, 369 both meaning "of the Svishtov post office."
16C. Identical in all respects to 15C. but with the inscription reading at top "GABROVSKAGO POCHT. OTD."
in Russian and at bottom, "NA GABROVSKO-TO POSHT. OT." in Bulgarian,370 both meaning "of the Gabrovo
These three particular markings for insured mail, as well as the two administrative ones listed under 3C. and 4C. were
ordered from and prepared at Bucharest.371 We find letters and invoices about this matter, dating from the begin-
ning of 1878 and issued by the Bucharest lithographic firms of M. Bandler, Beichel and Minchev.372
Apart from the markings of the Civilian Postal Service designated up to now, there was also another one of purely
official character and utilized during 1878-1879 for the special service at the T'rnovo post office. This was a single-
circle type, 26 m.m. in diameter. In its upper section, there is an inscription in Russian reading "Postal Department,"
followed by five lines in the centre with the text "Commission for holding undistributed correspondence" and finally
at bottom a pair of crossed horns, the emblem of the Postal Service. This was applied in black ink. Undelivered or
uncalled for registered letters, as well as valuable sending were struck with this marking after the expiration of the
legal limit of three months.373
We find it appropriate to give some further information relating to the Russian postmarks of 1877-79. There were
occasions, mainly during 1878, where some stations which had already instituted the service of accepting and deliver-
ing mail and were cancelling the affixed stamps with crosses by pen until the arrival of the proper postmarkers. For
example, that was certainly the case at Lovech.374 But similar cases elsewhere were rare. The ink utilized for the
cancellers was normally bluish. Inherited by the Bulgarian National Postal Service, they were also applied after
1 May 1879, until the introduction of official cancellers at the end of November 1879. This applied, for instance,
to the postmarkers inscribed "GABROVSKOE P.O./GABROVSKO POSHTENSKO OTDEL.", "ORKHANIE/
ORKHANIE," "PLEVNA/PLEVEN," "SOFIA/SREDETS," "TYRNOV/TRNOV," "VARNA/VARNA" and
The preparation of "Temporary Rules for the Postal Division in Bulgaria" was also related to the transfer of the
postal establishments to Bulgarian administration. The rules were approved by Dondukov on 11 April 1879 and
went into force on 1 May. This was the first postal law of the restored Bulgarian State.
On the eve of this date, the Russian Provisional Civilian Administration handed over the following postal networks
to the Bulgarian Postal Service:
A. Ruse Province
(a) Ruse-Byala-Pleven-Lukovit route with a link to Kutsina and T'rnovo.
(b) Pleven-Nikopol route.
(c) Pleven-Setovo route
The postal contractors were paid 44 paper rubles or 116.70 francs per horse.
B. Sofia Province
(a) Sofia-Lom route
(b) Sofia-lkhtiman route; Ikhtiman was later linked with Pazardzhik.
(c) Sofia-Pleven route.
The postal contractors were paid 50 rubles or 132 francs per horse.
C. T'rnovo Province
(a) T'rnovo-Gabrovo route.
(b) T'rnovo-Kutsina route.
(c) T'rnovo-Sevlievo route.
(d) T'rnovo-Osman Pazar
The postal contractors were paid 40 rubles or 105.60 francs per horse.
D. Varna Province
(a) Varna-Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik-Silistra route.
(b) Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik-Balchik route.
(c) Varna-Kaspichan-Shumen (by way of Yas'tepe).
The postal contractors were paid 57 paper rubles or 148 francs per horse.
E. Vidin Province
The Vidin-Petrokhan route. The postal contractors were paid 40 rubles or 126 francs per horse. 375
As we take into consideration the documentation examined so far, we can establish that the following stations were
operating around the end of April 1879, carrying out all postal functions and passing to Bulgarian direction on
1. Berkovitsa 9. Sevlievo
2. Gabrovo 10. Shumen
3. Lom Palanka (Lom) 11. Silistra
4. Nikopol 12. Sofia
5. Orkhanie (Botevgrad) 13. Svishtov
6. Pleven 14. T'rnovo
7. Razgrad 15. Varna
8. Ruse 16. Vidin 376
This number corresponds exactly to the number of stations carrying out operations during the month of May 1879.377
Some inaccuracies, gaps, omissions and erroneous conclusions are encountered quite often in the material published
so far, referring to the operations of the Russian Field and Civilian Postal Services in Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia
during these particular years. Even after examining philatelic material (envelopes, letters, postcards and cancellations)
it is not always possible to specify their origin correctly, even if we are guided by the markings. That is especially
the case for material bearing dates after 1 May 1879, when the mails came under Bulgarian and Eastern Roumelian
administration. Bearing this in mind, it is imperative that a classification be made separately for both Bulgarias.378
A. For the Principality of Bulgaria, we have three sharply differentiating periods, as follows:
(1) Operations of the Field Postal Service, from July 1877 to May-June 1879. The service began
operating at Kishinev in April 1877. In Bulgaria, it began working a little after the Russian forces had
crossed over into Bulgarian territory, i.e., during July 1877. Its operations continued, at given times,
in cooperation with the Civilian Postal Service with the withdrawal of the forces from Northern
Bulgaria in May 1879. A characteristic feature of the correspondence is the presence of dated
cancellations on it.
(2) The Postal Service of the Civilian Administration, from November 1877 to 30 April 1879.
It commenced operations with the gradual establishment of civilian authority on the spot. The first
post office, that of Svishtov, was officially opened on 17 November 1877. It had its own characteristic
cancellers. Russian postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps and postcards, as well as forms,
were in use.
(3) The Bulgarian National Posts, from 1 May 1879 onwards. On this date, the Russian Civilian Ad-
ministration transferred the postal and telegraphic service into Bulgarian hands. From this date, only
one postal service functioned, the Bulgarian one. Only Bulgarian stamps in the "centimes" issue were in
use, but the cancellers of the Russian Civilian Postal Service continued to be utilized, mainly those intro-
duced during 1878.
B. Postal operations in Eastern Roumelia were basically the same as those for the Principality of Bulgaria.
According to our classification, the following periods become distinguishable:
(1) Operations of the Field Postal Service, from the beginning of 1878 to the first days of August
1879. The same general conditions apply as those indicated under the same section for Bulgaria.
(2) The Postal Service of the Russian Civilian Administration.
(a) From the spring of 1878 to July 1878. Its activities were terminated when the Treaty of
Berlin came into force. The conditions stated under section No. 2 for the Principality of Bulgaria
applied here initially. Characteristic features: the postal markings, which we will note. Russian
postage stamps, envelopes with imprinted stamps, postcards and forms were in use. The rates
corresponded to those in Russia.
(b) Transitional period from July 1878 to 19 May 1879. This began when the clauses of the
Treaty of Berlin were put into effect, whereupon General A. Stolypin was appointed temporary
Governor-General. We refer to this period as "transitional" since although the Russian Civilian
Administration continued operating normally, it now already had a more limited statute, in ac-
cordance with the Treaty of Berlin. There actually was no difference between the first period and
the "transitional," if we did not take into account the length of time for the latter. It was termi-
nated at the end of May 1879, with the appearance of the new Governor, Alexander Vogorides.
The mail was cancelled with the same markings, Russian stamps were in use, etc. It is only from
the dates of the cancellations that we can tell with certainty that the mail originates from this
(3) Third Period from 19 May 1879 onwards. The Roumelian Postal Service began operations on
this date and continued until 6 September 1885, when the region was united with the Principality of
Bulgaria. However, the postal markings inherited from the Russian Administration continued in use
We should note that after 1 May 1879, there was no occasion for the existence of a Russo-Bulgarian Postal Service
of any kind in the Principality of Bulgaria, even of a provisional character. The finding of a few Russian postcards,
franked with Bulgarian 10-centime stamps (sent from Varna to Ruse during January 1880), about which there have
been attempts to have them labelled with the designation of "Russo-Bulgarian provisional postcards," does not in
any way justify their being attributed with this quality. In actual fact, they were utilized by people who had some
remainders of these Russian postcards and they were subsequently franked with the current Bulgarian 10-centime
stamp, in accordance with the rate of the Bulgarian National Postal Service at that time for postcards. In accord-
ance with article No. 16 of the "Temporary Rules of the Postal Division in Bulgaria," ratified by Prince Dondukov
on 11 April 1879, it was permitted to utilize "postcards with no writing on them and no postal cancellation" pro-
vided that "a 10-centime stamp were affixed." That was stated, as can be seen, clearly and categorically.
The declaration of war against Turkey on 12 April 1877 not only led to the breaking of diplomatic relations between
Russia and "the sick man of Europe" (the Ottoman Empire), but also gave rise naturally to the suspension of
economic links between the two countries, including the operations of ROPiT, the Russian Company for Navigation
and Trade. This company maintained Russian commercial and postal links by sea with Turkish and other ports along
the Black Sea and the Middle East (Levant).378
For almost a year, the ROPiT ships completely suspended their voyages to the Levantine ports, being utilized ex-
clusively for military purposes. However, almost immediately after the conclusion of the Treaty of San Stefano, the
question of renewing the operations of ROPiT was raised.378a Thus, on page 6 of Circular No. 2 of 1878 from the
Postal Department in Russia, apparently dating from March of that year, we read that in accordance with the notice
published in No. 47/1878 of "The Government Gazette," the conveyance of soldiers' mail, addressed to the forces
stationed south of the Stara Planina range was already being carried out by the ROPiT ships. It sufficed that postal
sending be endorsed in large letters both with the words "V DEISTVUYUSHCHUYU ARMIYU" (To the Army on
Active Service) and the phrase "ZA BALKANAMI" (Beyond the Balkan Mountains, i.e., Stara Planina range). This
circular confirms irrefutably that the postal operations of ROPiT and the links its ships had with the Bulgarian ports
of Varna and Burgas on the Black Sea had already been resumed by the end of March beginning of May 1878.
They gradually became regular and complete services, especially so far as Burgas is concerned. 379
The need for resuming the regular ROPiT services originally and especially between Odessa, Constantinople, Burgas
and Varna was also pressing in connection with maintaining military communications between the army stationed in
the Balkans and the mother country. With this in mind. Order No. 39 of 6 May 1878, issued by Adjutant-General
A. K. Imeretinskii at San Stefano, after mentioning the establishment of the postal links required by the military,
points out at the end, under the title of "Setting up postal courier communications by sea" that until the maritime
route had been resumed, a postal "courier" service would be set up to go overland from San Stefano to Odessa, via
Bucharest, Galatz (Galati) and Bendery and vice-versa. 380 This document suggests that communications by sea be-
tween Odessa and Burgas had not yet been resumed. That took place later on, around September 1878, at the
request of the military.
We notice this necessity of renewing the communications links with the Bulgarian Black Sea ports by the ROPiT
ships in a detailed letter sent from Plovdiv on 22 August 1878 by Trofim Pavlovich Yuzefovich,381 the former
Russian consul at Salonica. He was at that time in charge of the diplomatic service at the Russian Civilian Service.382
and had sent the letter to Baron Steiger, the ROPiT representative at Constantinople. In it, Yuzefovich talks in de-
tail about the necessity of establishing regular links by ROPiT along the Black Sea to the Turkish ports, to convey
goods, parcels, the mail and money as well as assure "proper postal communications with Russia," as the Austrian,
Franch and Italian ships were doing.383 A month later, Baron Steiger, "chief agent of the Eastern Lines of the
Russian Company for Navigation and Trade," as he styled himself, gave extensive explanations to the questions
raised by Yuzefovich.384
In the first paragraph of his reply, Steiger said as there was a plan envisaged for withdrawing the army from the
Balkans, the communications resumed with Constantinople would be maintained as before i.e., twice monthly. In
the next paragraph, he noted that visits to the port of Burgas by "the Constantinople steamers" of ROPiT would
take place according to the wishes of the C.i.C. of the army on active service. So far as Varna was concerned,
stopping at this port could probably take place if the Government found that to be necessary. A little explanation
is needed here, as we see that the emphasis is placed to a certain degree on Burgas. What is that due to?
The first reason was that the Russian forces had only been established in Varna from 27 July 1878, since up to that
date the Turkish forces were being withdrawn via the port of Varna, being concentrated in the Shumen and Varna
districts by the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano, while Burgas had already been liberated back on 25 January
1878. Moreover, after crossing the Stara Planina range at the beginning of January 1878, the greater part of the
Russian army found itself concentrated mainly on the territory of South Bulgaria and towards the direction for
Constantinople. This army had to be evacuated by sea via Burgas after the signing of the Treaty of Berlin and
thus this port was on the direct route from Bulgaria to Russia for the first time.
In the fourth paragraph of his reply, Steiger explained in greater detail the current difficulties in conveying the mail
by the ROPiT ships. He noted at length the conditions under which ROPiT carried mail, that the letters had to be
charged for and franked with the special ROPiT stamps: 8 kop. in coin per letter of 15 grammes (1/2 oz.) and that
no other outlet existed.
The important role which was bestowed on the ROPiT for the maintenance of postal links between Bulgaria and
Russia is also noted by an official directive dating from September 1878. According to telegram No. 63 from
Prince Imeretinski, the Russian G.H.Q. was to be moved from San Stefano to Adrianople on 8/9 September 1878,
as the withdrawal of the IV Corps, which formed part of the ring of encirclement around Constantinople, was to
commence on 10 September. It was directed that measures be taken to establish proper links between Odessa and
Burgas; also, that General Krenke, who at that time headed military communications in Bulgaria and who had the
Field Postal Administration at his disposal, should organize the regular despatch of soldiers' mail from Burgas to
Russia via Odessa. 385
Let us now see what repercussions the role and operations of the ROPiT had in Varna during the following year
On 10 February 1879, Major-General P. A. Gresser telegraphed from T'rnovo to the Governor of Ruse, so as to get
a reply as to when the mail for Russia was being despatched and whether steamers were going from Ruse to Russia
along the Danube.386 On the next day, Governor Akimov replied in telegram No. 916, saying that the Russian mail
left Ruse daily via Shumen and Yambol for Burgas, and the Austrian mail every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and
Sunday via Bucharest for Lemberg (now L'viv, Ukrainian SSR).387 In another telegram of the same day from
Varna, Gresser was informed in T'rnovo that "fast steamers went to Odessa on Sundays, accepting private mail
exclusively." 388 The inescapable conclusion is that the letters handed in were franked with ROPiT stamps and
these were cancelled with postmarks of the Varna agency.
The ROPiT steamers going to Varna were in essence continuing their voyages on from Burgas, since we see that they
were maintaining postal links with this latter city in South Bulgaria already by 1878, as the ROPiT had an agency
there. The ROPiT also had an agency at Varna, established after the conclusion of the Treaty of Berlin and it was
also working during the summer of 1879, as mentioned in letters dated 22 and 24 August 1879 from the contem-
porary Bulgarian provincial post office there.389 The ROPiT ships conveyed the Bulgarian mail not only for Russia,
but also that destined for Eastern Roumelia, which they delivered to Burgas, and vice-versa. These facts come to
light from several letters. In a letter of reply No. 2329 of 7 August 1879 from the General Administration of the
Bulgarian Posts to the Varna office, it was directed that all the mail, ordinary and registered, be forwarded "by
the Russian steamer on those days when there is one available" and whenever there were none, to be desptached to
Ruse "for further attention."390
In his memoirs, V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko (1848-1937), who had participated in the hostilities as a war corres-
pondent, said that there were already three postal agencies in Varna during the summer of 1879, namely the Bulgar-
ian one which replaced the former Russian Civilian postal station, the Austrian service and the Russian ROPiT one
that maintained communications between Varna and Odessa.391
The question will now be raised as to whether the mail, military or civilian and conveyed from Varna to Odessa,
Burgas or elsewhere and in the return direction, was franked with the special ROPiT stamps and cancelled with the
markings of its Varna agency.
As we refer to the facts given above, the question which has been posed can only have two answers, one quite
separate from the other. The first one of them relates to the despatch of mail forwarded by the Bulgarian National
Postal Service and addressed to Russia and Eastern Roumelia, and the second one to letters of "the private mail,"
about which there is mention in the telegram of 10 February 1879 mentioned previously. The following answer
may be given to the first question. In this particular case, the postmarking with the ROPiT cancellers at Varna,
cannot be possible, as the mail which had to be franked with Bulgarian postage stamps only and bore the cancella-
tions of the corresponding Bulgarian postal stations, was forwarded officially to the agency in separate and sealed
mail bags, addressed to the postal stations at Odessa or Burgas, as the occasion required. The answer to the second
question, where there is a very clear case of individual citizens handing in mail addressed abroad directly to the
ROPiT agency at Varna, suggests and permits the assumption that only this class of mail was postmarked with the
canceller of the ROPiT Varna agency. It appears that the volume of such mail was very limited, since only thus can
the fact be explained that so far no letters have been found with this particular postmark. In any case, such mail
would have to bear cancellations dating from the beginning of 1879. We have documents available, according to
which it can be stated with certainty that the ROPiT agency at Varna was also carrying out operations during
With regard to Burgas, which was at this time included in the territory of Eastern Roumelia, artificially created by
the Treaty of Berlin, the position there differed radically from that of the ROPiT at Varna. The ROPiT agency at
Burgas, in common with all its agencies in the Levant, accepted in the normal way the correspondence handed over
to it and addressed to other ports, including that of Constantinople and those along the Mediterranean.
The resumption and development of the communications network, as well as the opening of postal stations in the
southern part of Bulgaria, named Eastern Roumelia after the Congress of Berlin, began after the passage of the
Russian forces southwards across the Stara Planina range (in the first days of 1878) and mainly after signing of the
Treaty of San Stefano. And here also, as in Northern Bulgaria, two types of postal agencies may be distinguished:
civilian and field.
By 28 February 1878 Colonel Il'yashevich, at the office of the Governor of Sliven, which office had been tempor
arily established at the town of Kazanl'k, telegraphed Trubacheev that in connection with the Burgas-Yambol route,
stations had to be opened along it at Yambol, Seimenli (now Lozenets, Yambol province), Karnobat, Aitos and
Burgas.393 The inauguration of this route was one of the reasons for closing the station at Zimnicea in Rumania.
That was the case according to the contents of the telegram sent by General Anuchin at San Stefano to Trubacheev
on 11 March 1878.394 In circular No. 22 from the Governor of Svilen, dated 7 March 1878 and sent to the district
heads in his region, which also made mention about establishing communications, there is specific word in item No.
9 about the setting up of postal stations at Aidos (Aitos), Burgas, Eski Zagra (now Stara Zagora), Karnobat, Seimen-
li, Sliven, Yambol and Yeni Zagra (now Nova Zagora).395 A month later, the Governor of Sliven, his letter No. 148
for 2 April 1878, informed the Acting Director of the Department of Civilian Affairs that the approved route be-
tween Yeni Zagra and Burgas would be opened on 14 April. With this purpose in mind, an agreement had been
concluded with postal contractor Theodor Schemer. At the same time, he asked that the opening of the Seimenli-
Sliven route be permitted, as Sliven was to be the seat of the district of the same name. Moreover, it was empha-
sized in the same letter that the local inhabitants were ready to help maintain this particular route by supplying
horses and personnel. 396
On 11 April 1878, Adjutant-General Nepokoichitskii, in telegram No. 4757, asked the Director of the Department
of Civilian Affairs about the possibility of opening up postal communications between Ruse and Kotel via Razgrad.397
General Anuchin in telegram No. 253 requested of Trubacheev to make a written report for him regarding this
matter. The proposal was adopted and we encounter the name of Kotel (Kazan) designated in a list of 2 November
1878 as a station for changing horses on the Yambol-Kotel-Osman Pazar-Eski Dzhumaya-Shumen-Shumenski P't
(Shumla Road, now Kaspichan Sta.) route and from there along the railroad to Ruse.399
Steps were also taken at the same time to set up the route from Kazanl'k to Plovdiv, the main city in South
Bulgaria.400 In letter No. 2050 of 30 June 1878 from the Army Staff, which was located at San Stefano, and sent
to the Civilian Administration, there is also word, among other things, about the opening of postal communications
from Kazanl'k to Philippopolis (Plovdiv) and that telegraph connections with Yambol were already established.401
Later on, in a report No. 2 of 12 October 1878 sent to Voshchenin, he was informed that General Krenke had pro-
posed the closing of the Nova Zagora-Dzhinal (now Dzhinovo in the Sliven province) Sliven Yambol route.402
It may be seen from another document that the Nova Zagora-Sliven route was closed on 27 November 1878.403
It appears from letter No. 65 of 12 January 1879 from the Postal Administration in Bulgaria, situated at that time
in Adrianople, that the routes from Sofia to Tatar Pazardzhik and from Plovdiv via Kazanl'k to Gabrovo were also
operating then. 404
The period of time of the agreement with Schemer, the postal contractor ran out on 14 April 1879 and new tenders
were called for maintaining communications in Eastern Roumelia.405
The local population was utilized for the maintenance of routes that were shorter and of local importance, as it had
offered its services. A characteristic example in this regard is the draft of an agreement concluded during 1878 be-
tween Anastas Khadzhikondov, Dimit'r Khadzhiyordanov and Co. and "His Excellency the Chief of Staff of the XI
Corps" for maintaining the communications link between Yeni Zagra and Elena.406 We give the text word for
(1) The undersigned, Messrs Anastas Khadzhi Kondev and Dimit'r Khadzhi Yordanov & Co., commit them-
selves to maintain the military mails between Yeni Zagra and Elena With this aim in view, they are obligated to
hold the following numbers of horses and personnel at the following localities:
(a) Four pack horses at the village of Tv'rditsa and two persons.
(b) Four pack horses at the locality of K'shla in the Tv'rditsa Pass and two persons.
(2) Moreover, they are obligated to hold at Yeni Zagra two horses to be driven by one person, one horse at
Tv'rditsa for driving purposes, one horse for driving at K'shlata and these horses to be set aside for the rapid passage
of special adjutants who are proceeding on special commissions.
(3) One supervisor at each establishment who will be able to proceed to each of these three localities.
(4) The undersigned, Messrs Anastas Khadzhi Kondev and Dimit'r Khadzhi Yordanov and Co. are themselves
obligated to feed their horses and pay their personnel.
(5) Messrs Anastas Khadzhi Kondev and Dimit'r Khadzhi Yordanov commit themselves to maintain this
postal service for a period of 91 days from the day this agreement comes into force.
(6) The Chief of Staff of the 11th Corps is obligated to pay in advance to the undersigned Anastas Kondev
and Dimit'r Yordanov and Co. the sum of 42 half imperials every seven days.
(7) The Chief of Staff of the 11th Corps will be good enough to give the necessary orders for the assignment
of stables for the horses of the undersigned at Yeni Zagra, at Tv'rditsa and at K'shlata.
(8) If the undersigned, Anastas Kondev and Dimit'r Yordanov and Co. default on any of their duties and
terminate their service at an earlier time, they will be liable to pay for the number of days remaining for the period
for carrying the mails, at the rate of 6 half imperials per day.
(9) If, on the other hand, the mail service is terminated by the Chief of Staff before the term of 91 days is
completed, he will be obligated to pay for the remaining unused days until the end of the 91 days at the rate of six
half imperials per day.
The measures taken for opening postal stations in Eastern Roumelia were in full swing. This is evident from quite a
few documents which are at hand and dated during March 1878.
In letter No. 114 for 23 March 1878 from the Governor of Sliven to the Director of the Postal Division in Bulgaria,
after surveying a series of problems about the establishment of postal affairs in Eastern Roumelia, there is word that
postal stations should be opened at Aitos, Burgas, Karnobat, Seimenli, Sliven and Yambol, being subordinate to
those already in existence at Kazanl'k, Nova Zagora and Stara Zagora. It is constantly stated in this letter that sta-
tions should be opened, if possible, at the Black Sea port towns of Ankhiyalo (now Pomorie) and Mesemvriya
There is also mention in letter No. 161 of 25 June 1878 from General Krenke to the Director of the Postal Division
of the Postal Division about the desptach and receipt of private and official correspondence at the stations of Aitos,
Burgas and Sliven, beginning with the summer of 1878.408 With regard to Aitos, these postal services actually began
on 1 July 1878.409 The stations at Kazanl'k and the village of Shipka had been opened in January 1878410 and
those at Nova Zagora and Stara Zagora during February of the same year.411
The question relating to the establishment of communication links between Sofia and Plovdiv via Ikhtiman and Tatar
Pazardzhik was posed somewhat earlier.412 Supervisor Pavel Talan was assigned to Tatar Pazardzhik by letter No.
1579 of 27 October 1878 to inaugurate facilities for the receipt and delivery of private and official correspondence413
This particular operation started at the beginning of November 1878.414 There are also other documents at hand
showing that the postal station at Tatar Pazardzhik was opened at the end of 1878.415
There is mention in the circular No. 470 of 13 March 1879 from the Postal Administration in Bulgaria that, among
other things, the following establishments were operating "with the occupation forces" in Eastern Roumelia at that
time: four agencies, namely at Burgas, Philippopolis (Plovdiv). Sliven and Yambol and "points" at Aitos, Tatar
Pazardzhik and T'rnovo Seimen (now Maritsa) 416 It appears from circular No. 663 of 31 March 1879 from the
Postal Administration at Sofia that a postal agency was opened on 26 March 1879 at T'rnovo Seimen to handle all
classes of mail. 417
For the purposes of clarity, we note again the names of the localities in South Bulgaria (Eastern Roumelia) where
field postal agencies were operating, viz: Aitos, Burgas, Karnobat, Kazanl'k, Kotel, Nova Zagora, Plovdiv, Sliven and
By a "notice" signed by Staff-Captain ll'inskii the Director of the Governor's Office at Plovdiv, the townspeople
are notified that a "State telegraph station, which accepted desptaches of ordinary correspondence" had been opened
as of 1 April 1879.419
According to N. R. Ovsyannyi, five postal agencies and three ordinary stations were originally opened in Eastern
Roumelia and this number later grew to sixteen.420
It is interesting to note that, in contrast to the state of affairs in Northern Bulgaria and because of the special
statute for Eastern Roumelia acquired from the Treaty of Berlin, the civilian postal stations in this artificially separ-
ated autonomous region were subordinate to a specially organized authority known as the "Postal Administration of
the Occupation Forces." The Russian postal facilities set up in Eastern Roumelia, both civilian and military, were
subordinate to this Administration.
We should also note that only eight postal stations remained operating in Eastern Roumelia towards the end of
June 1879, namely at Altos (point), Burgas (agency), Karnobat (point), Plovdiv (agency), Sliven (agency), Tatar
Pazardzhik (point), T'rnovo-Seimen and Yambol (both agencies).
"The Postal Administration of the Occupation Forces," located at that time in Sofia, in its letter No. 1101 dated
27 June 1879 and sent to the Sofia post office, stated for information that the operations of the postal agencies
under the control of this particular Administration would be terminated as follows: on 28 June at T'rnovo-Seimen;
on 1 July at Plovdiv and Tatar Pazardzhik; on 4 July at Sliven; on 8 July at Yambol and on 1 August at Aitos,
Burgas and Karnobat.421 Letter No. 2025 dated 4 July 1879 and signed by G. Voshchenin also refers to this matter
in that it directed the Sofia post office that the despatch of mail destined for Burgas, Yambol and other places take
place via T'rnovo and Varna because of the closing down of the Plovdiv route.421a
It is apparent from all this that the Russian Administration did not hand over any postal stations to the Roumelian
Postal Administration which had been established as an independent entity at the end of June 1879, as had been
done in Northern Bulgaria. This was the reason why the Roumelian Administration took quick steps to resume oper-
ations at some of the former more important stations opened by the Russians. Thus, for example, thirteen stations
had already been established by the middle of July 1879, namely at Aitos, Burgas, Chirpan, Karlovo, Karnobat,
Kazanl'k, Khaskovo, Nova Zagora, Plovdiv, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Tatar Pazardzhik and Yambol.421b
(The Russian Tsar) Alexander II informed the Bulgarian population of Eastern Roumelia in a proclamation dated
11 April 1879 that in conformance with the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin, he had ordered with withdrawal of
the Russian forces from this autonomous area.422 The evacuation began in May and continued on even into
The Provisional Russian Administration in Eastern Roumelia terminated its activities on 15 May 1879, on which date
it was stated in order No. 61, issued at Plovdiv that Lieutenant-General Stolypin, who had hitherto been the Gov-
ernor-General of the area, had handed over his authority to the newly appointed Governor, Aleko Vogorides.423
The final closing down of the field postal agencies took place on 6 August 1879, after the forces had been com-
The markings utilized in South Bulgaria (Eastern Roumelia) by the postal services of the Civilian Administration until
their transfer to the Roumelian Administration on 19 May 1879, resemble to certain extent those of Northern Bul-
garia. An especially typical characteristic is in the cancellers, inscribed "nOLUA" (Poshta or Post) at top, as well as
another single-line type reading "FRANCO" in Latin letters. The remaining characteristics found on the markings of
the Principality of Bulgaria also apply to the Roumelian cancellers. The former Russian postmarkers as allocated to
Northern Bulgaria, i.e., for offices and agencies, were not utilized in Eastern Roumelia, as no such class of postal
establishment existed there. Four basic types of markings are so far known to have been used in Eastern Roumelia,
of which one was a single-line cachet, as we have already mentioned.
For the purposes of clarity, we classify the markings as follows:
1 R. A marking composed of two concentric circles, with diameters of 26 and 18 mm. respectively and simi-
lar to type 11 C. It was utilized by the postal agency at Plovdiv, probably from the beginning of 1879. The name
of the city is given as "FILIPPOPOL' at top and "PLOVDIV" at bottom. The date is in the center in three lines,
separated by dashes and there is a rosette at both sides of the inscription.425
2 R. The same, but with diameters of 25 1/2 and 17 1/2 mm. respectively. At top, the word "nOLWA," at
bottom the name of the town, with a rosette at both sides. The date is set in the same way as on marking 1 R. 426
There is a subtype of this canceller for Plovdiv, which is distinguishable by the style of the letters in the inscription,
which letters are now thicker427; also, the canceller for Stanimaka is in a smaller size.
3 R. Similar to marking 11 C. The dimensions are as for cancel type 2 R. An interesting feature is the desig-
nation of the month of April in Roman numberals as ////, instead of IV. This was utilized by the postal agency at
Burgas428 (we encounter a similar designation of the month of April in a Plovdiv cancellation dating from 1894).
It is necessary to point out that, as was also the case in the Principality of Bulgaria, these markings also continued
to be in use for a certain period of time after the establishment of the Roumelian Postal Administration.
LIST OF THE POSTAL STATIONS IN EASTERN ROUMELIA 1878-1879
Location Opening Date Remarks
1. Aidos (Aitos) April 1878 Letters also accepted from 1 July 1878
2. Akbunar February 1878 For changing horses.
3. Akhiolo (Ankhialo, now Pomorie) Not opened
4. Banya (Plovdiv province) June 1878 For changing horses.
5. Burgas April 1878 Letters also accepted from 1 June 1878
6. Dzhinal (now Dzhinovo, Sliven
province) March 1878 For changing horses
7. Eski Zagra (now Stara Zagora) February 1878 ?
8. Ikhtiman April 1878 For changing horses
9. Karatoprak (now Chernozem,
Plovdiv province) June 1878 For changing horses
10. Karnobat April 1878 ?
List of the Postal Stations in Eastern Roumelia 1878-1879 (continued)
Location Opening Date Remarks
11. Kazan (now Kotel) June 1878 For changing horses.
12. Kazanl'k January 1878 ?
13. Malko Selo (now Manolovo, Stara
Zagora province) April 1878 For changing horses.
14. Mesemvriya (now Neseb'r) Not opened
15. Philippopolis (Plovdiv) April 1878
16. Seimenli (now Lozenets, Yambol
province) April 1878 For changing horses.
17. Shibka (Shipka, Stara Zagora
province) January 1878 For changing horses.
18. Sliven March 1878 Letters also accepted from 1 June 1878
19. Tatar Pazardzhik (now Pazardzhik) April 1878 Letters also accepted from Nov. 1878
20. T'rnovo-Seimen (now Maritsa) March 1879 First a point, then an agency.
21. Yambol March 1878 Agency from March 1879
22. Yeni Zagra (now Nova Zagora) February 1878 ?
It is necessary that we give some supplementary data about the subject treated here. This is due to the discovery of
new documents after we had completed the writing of the present study. We believe that in this manner these data
will contribute to a more complete presentation of the subject.429
Judging from a report of 9 January 1878 from the director of the postal station at Zimnicea and sent to the post-
master of the Svishtov office, it appears that not only were the allocated ten rubles disbursed in full, but that the
office had been opened on 17 November 1877 and more suitable premises were needed.430 It also appears from
other official documents that the requirement of credit was directly linked with the operations of the postal stations
during 1878. It is stated in letter No. 3807 for November 1878 (the exact day cannot be seen) from the Governor
of T'rnovo to the Field Postal Administration that the sum of 500 rubles were allocated for the requirements of
office expenses and the equipping of newly opened postal stations, at the request of the Director of Military Com-
munications.431 It is directed in letter No. 4773 of 13 December 1878 from Major-General Gresser to the Director
of the Postal Department in Bulgaria that the sum of 500 rubles be allocated to order cancellers, seals and papers
for the "local postal establishments" being opened up.432 It is evident from letter No. 1931 of 16 December 1878
from the Postal Department to Gresser, which we believe to be in answer to the previous letter, that sums of money
had also been allocated for the same reason to the postal establishments at Berkovitsa, Gabrovo, Lom Palanka,
Sevlievo, Sofia, Svishtov, T'rnovo and Vidin, as well as at Tatar Pazardzhik, where a facility for accepting ordinary
mail had been inaugurated.433 The stations at Sevlievo and Vidin reported the receipt on 8 November 1878 of the
sum of 25 rubles each, destined for their office requirements; Berkovitsa and Lom Palanka advised receipt on 24
November435 and the Sofia post office on 6 December 1878. 436
The reports of Modzelevskii, the postmaster at the Sofia office, dated 16 December 1878 under Nos. 1519 and 1520
and sent to Major-General Gresser, also testify to the opening of the routes going from Sofia to Pleven via Orkhanie
and from Sofia to Berkovitsa and Lom.437
Report No. 8 of 31 October 1878 by G. Voshchenin to Gresser refers to the establishment of the relay postal service.
It is stated therein that the postal relay route had been set up as of 30 October and the report indicated the methods
of desptaching packages, money, etc.438 In his report No. 1136 for 1 November 1878, the postmaster of the Sofia
office informed Gresser that the relay postal service had begun operating on the same day.439 Gresser sent out
circular No. 3870 of 9 November 1878, referring to all this and including the details of report No.8 by Voshchenin.440
There is mention in report No. 4 by Voshchenin, dated 25 October 1878 and sent to Gresser, about the transmission
of mail from Bulgaria to Russia (and vice-versa) during the winter of 1878-1879. It is pointed out therein that as of
21 October, the mail for Adrianople would be sent from Odessa by the ROPiT via Constantinople and not via
The Governor of Vidin issued a schedule and detailed instructions for the conveyance of mail during the summer of
1878. This schedule includes the movements of mail between Vidin, Belogradchik, Kula, Lom, Berkovitsa, Vratsa
We have also found another schedule for the movement of mail between Sofia and Pleven and vice-versa, dated
19 December 1878, but without any appreciable difference from the previous timetable.443
As will be seen, there are numerous documents referring to the operations of the Russian Civilian Postal Service in
Bulgaria during 1879.
Supplying the stations with the appropriate signboards proceeded apace. The station for changing horses at
Lukovitsa (now Lukovit) received its board on 9 January 1879, Yablanitsa on 12 January and Telish on 14
A letter of instruction No. 93 of 18 January 1879 from the Postal Administration to the postmaster at the Sofia
office also refers to the opening of the Grand National Assembly at T'rnovo in connection with the establishment of
the special single-horse postal service between Sofia and T'rnovo and vice-versa, about which we have gone into quite
some detail already.445 In letter No. 247 of 25 January 1879, Major-General Gresser arranged with the Sofia post
office that the horse postal service leave daily at 3 pm. from 6 February onwards, independently of the normal mail
which left on Mondays and Thursdays.446 There is also word about the same matter in letter No. 493 of 13 Febru-
ary 1879 from the Postal Department to the Sofia office.447
We have found schedules about the movements of mail between T'rnovo, Dryanovo and Gabrovo; T'rnovo and
Shumen; T'rnovo and Ruse; T'rnovo and Nikopol (via Sevlievo and Pleven) and between Sofia and Pleven, dating
from March 1879 onwards and which do not differ from the ones we have already mentioned.448 Similar schedules
were also prepared on the same date for the postal links between Sofia and Lom, and Yambol to Osman Pazar.449
We have found another copy of report No. 211 of 4 February 1879 from the postmaster of the Sofia office, already
mentioned previously and referring to the establishment at Constantinople of a quarantine service for mail arriving
from Russia, whereby it was delayed for three or four days and nights.450
Attendant upon the fact that new rates had come into force and the mail now had to be franked with Bulgarian
stamps only, the return of the unsold remainders of Russian postal items was delayed in spite of all directives. By
letter No. 774 of 21 August 1879, the postal station at Ruse informed the Postal Administration at Sofia that there
were no Russian "stamped envelopes, as they had been returned by the previous postmaster."451 It is stated in
letter No. 242 of 21 August from the Shumen station and sent to Sofia that the remaining Russian envelopes with
imprinted stamps had been returned with letter No. 81 of 30 April. The Razgrad station despatched with letter No.
217 of 22 August "the remainders of the Russian stamped envelopes," as follows: 82 copies of 8 kop. and 191 of
the 10 kop. value.453 The postal station at Sevlievo in letter No. 70 for 23 August informed Sofia that there were
no remainders there of the stamped envelopes "from the Russian time."454
The denominations and quantities of the Russian postage stamps sold at the Sofia office during the first quarter of
1879 may be determined from several letters. The office reported in letter No. 225 of 5 February that the follow-
ing had been sold during the month of January: 265 stamps of 1 kop.; 501 stamps of 2 kop.; 447 stamps of 5 kop.;
and 563 stamps of 8 kop.455 The reported sales for February per letter No. 354 of 4 March were: 433 stamps of
1 kop.; 275 stamps of 2 kop.; 450 stamps of 5 kop. and 397 stamps of 8 kop.456 The reported sales for March
per letter No. 479 of 4 April were: 257 stamps of 1 kop.; 33 stamps of 2 kop.; 648 stamps of 5 kop. and 799
stamps of 8 kop.457 The reported sales for April per letter No. 594 showed a more varied situation, as follows:
728 stamps of 1 kop.; 664 stamps of 2 kop.; 452 stamps of 5 kop.; 214 stamps of 7 kop.; 201 stamps of 8 kop.
and only 5 stamps of the 10 kop. value.458
The quantities on hand of Russian postal items at the Sofia office during these same months may be established per
denomination from the documents we have available. We have prepared the following tabulation for this purpose:
Postage stamps Stamped envelopes Postcards
Date 1 k. 2 k. 5 k. 8 k. 8 k. 10 k. 20 k. 4 k. without stamp
19 January 46 319 54 134 3920 1000 1000 2000 990459
3 February 427 261 414 350 9620 4000 2000 4990 1990460
13 March 50 320 199 9620 4000 2000 4990 1990461
6 April 233 214 352 141 9616 4000 2000 4990 1990462
1 May 9616 4000 2000 -463
It appears from a document that the horse postal station, which had been operating for a short time at the village of
Virovo, had been closed on 14 January 1879, as similar stations had been opened to take its place at Kutlovitsa (now
Mikhailovgrad) and Tserovene.464
The opening of communications routes from Sofia to Lom and from Sofia to Pleven (and return) was permitted by
letter No. 11966 of 3 January 1879, sent from the Field Postal Administration and addressed to the Sofia post
office.465 A new timetable was also prepared with the date of 15 January 1879 for the movements of the mail be-
tween Lom, Archar and Vidin and vice-versa.466 A new schedule which temporarily applied to communications be-
tween T'rnovo and Sofia, via Novo Selo, Sevlievo and Pleven is also noted in letter No. 120 from the Postal Admini-
stration to the Sofia office.467 We learn from letters Nos. 687 and 688 of 31 March 1879 that a timetable was
prepared with the signature of Voshchenin for the movement of mail between Sofia and Lom and vice-versa,468
while letters Nos. 716 and 717 of 4 April refer to a new schedule for communications between Sofia and Pleven and
return, by which Voshchenin changed the timetable listed with letter No. 120.469
New instructions were given relating to the desptach of mail to Russia. Thus, in a telegram from the Director of the
Field Postal Administration at Adrianople, dated 29 January 1879 and sent to the postmaster at Sofia, it was directed
that the mail for Russia should be sent via Burgas as of 31 January by whatever route available, and return. The
stations at Berkovitsa, Lom, Orkhanie and Vidin were to be notified about this matter.470 Letter No. 170 of 29
January 1879 from the Sofia office and sent to the head of the Lom station also refers to the foregoing.471
The 12th field postal agency at Plovdiv informed the Sofia office by letter No. 4235 of 24 Feb. 1879 that the route
from Kazanl'k to Plovdiv had been closed and, for this reason, the mail for Gabrovo and T'rnovo had to be des-
patched via Yambol.472
In a telegram from Adrianople, dated 30 January 1879, B. Romanus, the Director of the Field Postal Administration,
informed the Sofia office that mail addressed to the ambassador and to the Russian Embassy at Constantinople had
to be desptached to Burgas, from where it would be conveyed to the Turkish capital by the ships of ROPiT.473
From a circular of the Sofia office, the date of which, being illegible, we attribute to around the beginning of Febru-
ary 1879 and which was sent to the stations at Berkovitsa, Lom and Vidin, it appears that the Field Postal Admini-
stration and the Field Post Office would already be in Burgas as of 3 February and that mail should be forwarded
to them at the latter place.474
A fine chart of the postal communication links set up in Northern and Southern Bulgaria, which is undated but can
be attributed to the second half of 1878, demonstrates the existence of a well established postal network by that
There is also a circular No. 45/3438 and dated 8 February 1879 from the U.P.U. at Berne, referring to the colors
that had to be utilized for the printing of postage stamps. There is an attachment to the circular, reproducing these
same suggested colors, namely green for the 5-centime stamp, red for the 20 centimes and blue for the 25-centime
1 The titles of these works will be specified in our footnotes.
2 S. D. Tchilinghirian & W. S. E. Stephen: "Stamps of the Russian Empire Used Abroad," Part I, Bristol 1957,
pp. 74-96 (pp. 55-71 are set aside for Rumania). We should add to this the publication during recent years of
well-founded articles in the following magazines: Filatelia of Bucharest, Rumania; Filatelen Pregled of Sofia,
Bulgaria; Filateliya SSSR, of Moscow, USSR; The British Journal of Russian Philately, Rossica Journal, etc.
3 S. V. Prigara: "The Russian Post in the Empire, in Turkey, in China and the Post in the Kingdom of Poland."
New York, 1941.
4 Mariya Georgieva Manolova: "The Provisional Russian Administration in Bulgaria during 1877-1879 and the
Postal Service." Historical Review, Sofia, issue No. 6 for 1968, pp. 33-40.
5 D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service in Bulgaria during the War of Liberation." Military Historical
Journal, Sofia, issue No. 6 for 1968, pp. 35-55. See also D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Postal Service in Bul-
garia during the War of Liberation of 1877-1878," Soviet Collector, Moscow, issue No. 8, for 1970, pp. 43-66.
6 Stack No. 523, Inventory I, consisting of 124 files with about 10,000 documents of the Postal Service under the
Russian Civilian Administration in Bulgaria during 1877-1879, is preserved at the Central State Historical
Archives in Sofia (abbreviated to CSHA hereinafter). Only 19 of these files could not be examined, as the docu-
ments in them are being subjected to restoration. We have also found interesting material referring to the subject
treated here in other works and newspapers, which had not been utilized hitherto and they are also mentioned in
7 We will naturally also cite some materials already published on this subject where required and for a better all-
round presentation of the text.
8 D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service ....." pp. 35-36.
"9 "Manual of Official Orders," Issue III, Svishtov, 1877, pp. 1-7.
10 CSHA, Stack No. 523, Archival Entity (abbreviated to A.E. hereinafter) No. 3, sheets (hereinafter sh.) Nos. 15-16.
"11 D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service . ..," pp. 38-39.
"11a We will specify the dates in the Julian Calendar, i.e., Old Style, hereinafter.
12 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. No. 3, sh. 19.
13 ibid., sh. 23-25.
"14 ibid., sh. 40.
15 ibid., sh. 62.
16 ibid., sh. 67.
17 ibid., sh. 46.
18 N. R. Ovsyannyi: "The Russian Administration in Bulgaria in 1877-78-79," Vol. I., SPB, 1906, p. 86.
19 V1. Trubacheev: "The Field Postal Service during the recent Turkish War"; Postal-Telegraphic Journal, Unoffiical
Section, Vol. XI, SPB, 1898, pp. 1520-1523.
20 VI. Trubacheev: op.cit., p. 1525; N. R. Ovsyannyi: op. cit., p. 86; G. Georgiev & V. Topalov: "Short History
of the War of Liberation of 1877-1878," Sofia, 1958, p. 501.
21 Newspaper "B'lgarin": a Bulgarian information bulletin with Russophile tendencies. Issued twice weekly at
Bucharest and later at Giurgiu (1877-1878). After the liberation of Bulgaria, the newspaper was issued at Ruse
until 1887. It was widely circulated among the Bulgarians in Rumania during the 1877-1879 period.
22 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 39, sh. 24; A.E. 9, sh. 36. We will look at this convention a little further on.
23 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 29 & 40.
24 ibid., A.E. 34, sh. 10-11.
25 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 99-100.
26 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 46.
27 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 68-73.
28 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 4.
29 ibid., A.E. 6.
30 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 20-21.
31 ibid., A.E. 6, sh. 5-8.
32 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 54-55.
33 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 53 (letter No. 129 of 21 August 1877 from Kishinev to Prince Cherkasskii).
"34 ibid., A.E. 8, sh. 3-7.
35 VI. Trubacheev: op. cit., p. 1524; N. R. Ovsyannyi: op. cit., p. 85-86 (for comprehensive details, see M. G.
Manolova: op. cit).
36 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 80, sh. 8-9; A.E. 84, sh. 4-5.
37 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 65a.
38 D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service ......," p. 40.
39 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 80, sh. 12-13, 20-21.
40 ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 2-4; sh. 11-14; sh. 76. They are quire numerous, especially during 1878 (see also M. G.
Manolova: op. cit., p. 39).
41 CSHA, A.E. 5, sh. 99-100; A.E. 41, sh. 20-22.
42 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 8-11.
43 ibid., sh. 26-29.
44 ibid., A.E. 7, sh. 37-38.
45 ibid., A.E. 4, sh. 1-2.
46 No. 69 of 22 December 1877 (this particular Manual of Regulations was announced for the first time by D. N.
Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service p. 41).
47 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 39, sh. lb.
48 ibid., sh. 11-14.
49 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 1, 3.
50 ibid., sh. 23-25.
51 ibid., sh. 17, 19, 21.
52 ibid., sh. 27.
53 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 74.
54 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 25-26.
55 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 38.
56 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 99-10; A.E. 41, sh. 20-22.
57 ibid., A.E. 112, sh. 54 (there is a note appended in pencil to the sum of 250 gold francs re an amount of 400
rubles in "banknotes" or 1000 francs).
58 ibid., sh. 1.
59 ibid., sh. 114, 116.
60 ibid., sh. 115.
61 ibid., sh. 10.
62 ibid., sh. 13
"63 ibid., sh. 12.
"64 ibid., sh. 17.
65 ibid., sh. 84.
66 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 64.
67 ibid., A.E. 4, sh. 22.
68 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 25-26; also about the same matter: A.E. 34, sh. 10-11.
69 ibid., A.E. 7, sh. 8.
70 ibid., sh. 9-11.
"71 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 68.
72 ibid., A.E. 34, sh. 10-11.
73 The newspaper "The Flying Military Leaflet," organ of the Russian Army on active service on the Danube-Balkan
Front, issue No. 69 for 22 December 1877 (cited originally by D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service
..... p. 41).
74 Cited originally by D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service ...... p. 41.
75 However, there is no mention about it on the plan.
76 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 39, sh. 27.
"77 ibid., sh. 30.
78 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 43. We found yet another quite detailed plan on sh. 44.
79 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 68.
80 ibid., sh. 61-67. We found this plan inserted in Trubacheev's letter of 1 January 1878.
81 Tchilinghirian & Stephen: op. cit., Part I, p. 85. There are many villages in Bulgaria with the name of "Novo
Selo" (New Village). The information given by the above-mentioned authors is erroneous.
82 CSHA. Stack No. 523, A.E. 39, sh. 2.
83 ibid., sh. 7.
84 ibid., sh. 10.
85 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 146.
86 We must point out that the envelopes with imprinted stamps were sold for an extra half kopek over the face
value of the impressed design.
87 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 38, sh. 17.
88 ibid., sh. 21.
89 As the documentation was badly sewn in, we have noted the quantities for the 2, 5 and 8 kop. stamps to the best
of our ability to read them.
90 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 38, sh. 19.
91 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 38.
92 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 20-22; A.E. 5, sh. 99-100.
93 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 63, 66.
94 As of 19 June/i July 1875, the rates in Russia were as follows: for ordinary letters 8 kop.; for postcards -
4 kop.; as of 1 April 1879, they were 7 kop. and 3 kop. respectively.
95 Konst. Jirefek: "The Principality of Bulgaria," Vol. I, Plovdiv, 1899, p. 275.
96 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 39, sh. 50-52; A.E. 9, sh. 32-34.
97 See "Third Circular of the Postal Service in 1877," Section entitled "Instructions and Elucidations," Part I, p. 17.
98 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 5, sh. 99-100; A.E. 41, sh. 20-22.
99 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 47-48.
100 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. lb.
101 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 61.
102 ibid., sh. 64-66; N. R. Ovsyannyi: op. cit., I, p. 86; G. Georgiev & V. Topalov: op. cit., p. 501; D. N. Min-
chev: The Russian Field Postal Service ..... p. 40.
103 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 3, sh. 69.
104 Newspaper "B'lgarin," issue No. 21 for 17 Dec. 1877.
105 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 9, sh. 47-48.
106 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 76; A.E. 34, sh. 10-11.
107 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 5 & 12; A.E. 5, sh. 48.
108 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 41; 27 & 37.
109 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 64a; A.E. 5, sh. 37.
110 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 30.
"11 Rumanian field postal stations were opened in the liberated localities in the north-western part of Bulgaria, where
the Rumanian Army had been sent after the fall of Pleven during the fourth quarter of 1877. For instance, they
were located at: Archar, Byala Rada, Gigen, Kovachitsa, Lom, Muselievo, Naz'r-makhala (now the village of
Gurkovo), Nikopol, Oryakhovo (on 9 November 1877), Pleven (after its fall and continuing only for a short time),
Pordim, Rainovtsi, Ruptsi, Sm'rdan, Tsib'r, and V'rbitsa (from August 1877). For details, see D. N. Minchev:
"The Rumanian Post in Bulgaria during the War of 1877-78," Filatelia, No. 5 for 1958, pp. 2-3; No. 6 for
1958, p. 5.
112 We encountered certain difficulties in ascertaining exactly the opening and closing dates of many of the stations.
The following phrases were often read in the documents: "the postal station at such and such as place has begun
operating," or "the station had already terminated its activities" and many similar references, without specifying
the dates exactly. The dates of the letters can only serve as approximate determinations, which is why we have
decided to write "opened around or "it would appear that it was opened (or closed) about etc.
However, when we were able to examine other sources also, we have tried to be closer to the actual fact.
" 3CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 3, sh. 79.
114 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 33
"15ibid., A.E. 35, sh. 198-199.
"116 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 55.
"11 ibid., A.E. 40, sh. 121.
"118 ibid., A.E. 81, sh. 61; V1. Trubacheev: op. cit., p. 1529. Muratov also writes about the same matter: "Docu
ments about the activities of the Russians in setting up the Civilian Administration in Bulgaria 1877-1879,"
Sofia, 1905, p. 138.
"I9CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 81. sh. 37.
120 ibid., sh. 38.
121 ibid., sh. 48.
122 ibid., sh. 73, 99.
123 ibid., sh. 99.
"124 ibid., A.E. 84, sh. 164-165.
125 ibid., A.E. 81, sh. 154
"26e.g., CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 21, sh. 12-14, 76, 124-125; A.E. 81, sh. 154; A.E. 84, sh. 95, 135, 136, 173,
203; A.E. 80, sh. 1-2.
127 ibid., A.E. 35, sh. 200.
128 ibid., sh. 282.
"129 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 83; A.E. 9, sh. 64.
130 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 84-85.
131 ibid., A.E. 40, sh. 107; A.E. 48, sh. 59-60; A.E. 9, sh. 189.
132 ibid., A.E. 52, sh. 30.
133 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 114, 117.
134 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 98; A.E. 5, sh. 109; A.E. 41, sh. 15 (see also A.E. 39, sh. 80-81).
135 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 94.
136 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 96.
137 ibid., sh. 98.
138 ibid., sh. 2.
139ibid., A.E. 17, sh. 7-10.
140ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 151.
141 ibid., sh. 185.
142 ibid., A.E. 83, sh. 63.
143 ibid., A.E. 13, sh. 28.
144 ibid., A.E. 53, sh. 13.
145 ibid., A.E. 13, sh. 28 (letter from San Stefano, under No. 2050 and dated 30 June 1878).
146 ibid., A.E. 18, sh. 4.
147 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 58.
148 ibid., A.E. 18, sh. 8.
149 ibid., A.E. 53, sh. 26.
"150 ibid., A.E. 12, sh. 56; Stack No. 128, A.E. 202, sh. 13-14, 16--17.
151 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 69.
152 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 9.
153 ibid., A.E. 48, back of sh. 23.
154 ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 16-20, 29-30.
155 ibid., sh. 16-17.
156 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 63.
157 ibid., back of sh. 63.
158 ibid., A.E. 6, sh. 106-107.
159 ibid., A.E. 18, sh. 31-32.
160 ibid., A.E. 6, sh. 1-119.
161 ibid., A.E. 19, sh. 11-12; 14-16.
162 ibid., A.E. 18, sh. 16-19. For the Bulgarian text, see A.E. 18, sh. 11-14.
163 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 58; A.E. 9, sh. 61-63.
164 ibid., sh. 61-67.
165 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 97; A.E. 39, sh. 80-81.
166 ibid., A.E. 42, sh. 149, 151.
167 ibid., A.E. 40, sh. 108; A.E. 34, sh. 123-130.
168 ibid., A.E. 34, sh. 135; A.E. 15, sh. 43.
169 ibid., A.E. 34, sh. 123.
"17ibid., A.E. 17, sh. 7-10.
"17ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 2-4. There is another undated report quite similar to the one mentioned but apparently a
little shorter. After referring to the Mandate of 31 July 1877 by the C.i.C. of the Army, which had been given
to Prince Cherkasskii to establish the Administration in Bulgaria and referring also to the proposals put forward
by the same Cherkasskii, a general review is then made, in connection with the foregoing, of the operations of
the mails up to that time. According to this report, the following establishments existed in Bulgaria: a Postal
Administration at Razgrad, offices at Svishtov and T'rnovo and an agency at Gabrovo, which accepted and de-
livered ordinary and insured correspondence. In addition to these, facilities were opened for the receipt and
delivery or ordinary mail at Aitos, Burgas, Osman Pazar, Sliven, Sofia and Vidin. Between Vidin and Silistra,
the mail was conveyed along the Danube on a round-trip basis, and from Ruse to Silistra twice weekly including
round trips (see CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 21, sh. 35-38).
"172CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 41, sh. 149-150. There is also mention of the transmission of mail along the
Danube by the D.D.S.G. steamers between Svishtov and Vidin in letter No. 1604 of 20 October 1878 (see
CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 9, sh. 270).
"173CSHA, Stack No. 523, AE. 9, sh. 275-276.
"4 ibid., A.E. 17, sh. 20-21.
175 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 68.
"176 ibid., A.E. 7, sh. 53.
"177 ibid., A.E. 34, sh. 8.
"1 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 75-76, 78.
"'9ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 87.
1800D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service ... p. 42. For a more detailed account of its purpose, see
A. Voskresenski: "The Flying Post and its Organization," Shumen, 1926.
181CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 15, sh. 54.
182 ibid., sh. 55.
183 ibid., sh. 56.
184 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 58.
85 Third Circular of the Postal Service for 1877, Section I, p. 17.
186CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 9, sh. 72.
"187ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 8.
188First Circular of the Postal Service for 1878, p. 3.
"89CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 15, sh. 66.
"190ibid., A. E. 48, sh. 162-163.
191ibid., A.E. 34, sh. 181-182.
192ibid., A.E. 12, sh. 55-56.
'93ibid., sh. 55-56.
'94ibid., A.E. 102, sh. 11.
95ibid., sh. 7.
"96ibid., sh. 22.
197ibid., back of sh. 23.
98 ibid., back of sh. 35.
"199ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 84; A.E. 115, sh. 59.
200ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 85.
201ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 43 front and back.
202ibid., sh. 72.
203ibid., A.E. 17, sh. 2-3.
204ibid., sh. 5.
205 ibid., sh. 6.
206ibid., A.E. 40, sh. 116; see also A.E. 34, sh. 122.
207ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 250-251, 254.
208 bid., A.E. 34, sh. 123.
209ibid., sh. 123-130.
210ibid., A.E. 17, sh. 20-21.
211ibid., A.E. 43, sh. 14-15.
212ibid., sh. 13.
"213ibid., A.E. 57, sh. 6.
2141bid., A.E. 13, sh. 29.
215Konst. JfreCek: "Bulgarian Diary from 30 October 1879 to 26 October 1884," Sofia, 2930, p. 11.
2161t has been claimed that the postal station at Vidin was a "Russian field postal agency," concerning itself with
mail for and from abroad and that it was also in existence after 1 May 1879. See F. Kanitz: "Donau-Bulgari-
en und der Balkan," 2nd. Edn., Vol. I, Leipzig 1882, p. 39, also Franz See: "A contribution to the history
and development of the mails in the Bulgarian lands-60 years of the Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones," Sofia,
1939, p. 278. The fact is that the Vidin station was handed over on the eve of 1 May 1879 to the newly es-
tablished Bulgarian Administration.
217D. N. Minchev: "A New Contribution to the History of the Posts in Bulgaria" in the magazine Filatelen
Pregled, issue No. 4 for 1963, pp. 12-13; T. Angelov: "Berkovitsa-60 years of the Posts, Telegraphs and
Telephones," p. 209; D. N. Minchev: "Notes from Collectors," Rossica Journal, No. 64 for 1963; S. D.
Tchilinghirian: "Used Abroad Chronicle Chronicle VII" in BJRP No. 34 for 1964, p. 9. (There is nothing
mentioned about Berkovitsa in Vol. I of the cited work by Tchilinghirian and Stephen.)
218Kiro Petrov: "History of the Mails," Sofia, 1924, pp. 169-170.
219ibid., p. 160.
220Tr. Khr. Trifonov: "The Posts and Telegraphs in the Lovech District after the Liberation" in "Lovech and the
Lovech District," Book VI, Sofia, 1934, p. 69.
221Franz See: op. cit., p. 275.
222N. R. Ovsyannyi: op. cit., p. 87; Muratov: op. cit., p. 13.
223Muratov: op. cit., p. 107.
224K. Petrov: op. cit., 171.
225p. Todorov: "Lom 60 years of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones," p. 227.
2260. N. Minchev: "Who was the author of the "Centimes" stamps?" in Filatelen Pregled, issue No. 4 for 1960,
p. 16; D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service ....." p. 43.
227D. N. Minchev: "The Rumanian Post in Bulgaria .. .." p. 2-3; D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal
Service ..., p. 42; Pet'r Tsekov: "Oryakhovo 60 years of the Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones," p. 69.
228Pet'r Tsekov: op. cit., p. 69
229CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 93, sh. 72.
"230ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 29.
"231D. N. Minchev: "The Russian marking for the Oryakhovo postal station," in Filatelen Pregled, issue No. 1 for
1971, p. 6.
"232Newspaper "Maritsa." Plovdiv, Vol. II, issue No. 53, for 30 January 1879, p. 5.
233CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 65, sh. 44.
234 ibid., sh. 1-3.
"235We have found such a diagram in A.E. 21, sh. 76a, 76b.
1236ibid., A.E. 65, sh. 15-17.
237ibid., A.E. 64, sh. 7-8.
"238 ibid., A.E. 75, sh. 21-22.
239ibid., A.E. 65, sh. 26-27.
240ibid., sh. 33-34, 36-39.
241 ibid., A.E. 66, sh. 2, 2a.
242ibid., A.E. 65, sh. 20.
243ibid., A.E. 64, sh. 2-4.
244ibid., A.E. 75, sh. 17-19.
245This was published in Bulgarian and Russian in the newspaper "Maritsa," Vol. II, issue No. 53 for 30 January
1879, pp. 3-4.
246The plan was published in Russian and Bulgarian in the newspaper "Maritsa," Vol. II, issue No. 53 for 30
January 1879, pp. 2-3.
247CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 81, sh. 154.
248 ibid., A.E. 93, sh. 71, 82.
249ibid., A.E. 94, sh. 1-77.
"250ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 101, 102.
251ibid., A.E. 122, back of sh. 16.
252ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 8. See also sh. 6-7 on the same subject.
253ibid., A.E. 75, sh. 97, 97a.
254 ibid., sh. 98, 98a.
255 ibid., sh. 99, 99a.
256ibid., A.E. 75, sh. 100, 100a; A.E. 64, sh. 44, 45, 90, 91.
257 ibid., A.E. 64, sh. 42, 43, 88, 89.
"258ibid., A.E. 55, sh. 14 (telegram No. 916 of 11 February 1879 from the Governor of Ruse).
259ibid., sh. 16.
260ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 140.
261ibid., A.E. 120, sh. 1 et seq.
262ibid., sh. 75.
263ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 31.
264ibid., A.E. 120, sh. 81-82.
265ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 53; A.E. 122, back of sh. 29.
266See the speech of Ivan Stoyanovich, delivered on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Bulgarian Postal
Service and reproduced by T. Tsonchev: "Materials on the History of the Bulgarian Posts, Telegraphs and
Telephones," Vol. I, Sofia, 1935, p. 135.
267ibid., p. 135.
268Stepan Vasil'evich Parushev: "60 years of the Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones," p. 427.
269CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 25, sh. 3.
"270ibid., sh. 4-5.
271ibid., sh. 9, 14.
272ibid., sh. 15, 35.
273ibid., sh. 26, 28.
"274 ibid., A.E. 120, sh. 73.
275ibid., A.E. 25, sh. 10.
2 6 ibid., sh. 17.
277 ibid., A.E. 25, back of sh. 39, sh. 40.
"278 ibid., A.E. 26, sh. 2.
279ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 11.
"280ibid., A.E. 93, sh. 72.
281 V. Trubacheev: op. cit., p. 1521.
182Fifth Circular of the Postal Service for 1876 (CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 1, sh. 336).
283S. V. Prigara: op. cit., p. 151-154.
2840ne lot is exactly equivalent to 12.797 grammes (almost 1/2 oz.).
285 Fifth Circular of the Postal Service for 1876 (CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 1, sh. 1).
286Vl. Trubacheev: op. cit., p. 1521.
287T. N. Boichev: "History of the Jubilee (25th anniv.) of Bulgaria," Part I, p. 57, Sofia, 1903.
288C. Minescu: "History of the Rumanian Posts,", Bucharest, 1916, p. 361.
289"lllustrated Chronicle of the War," No. 22, 1877, p. 174. Mentioned initially in D. N. Minchev: "Yet another
document about the Russian Postal Service in 1877-1878," Filatelen Pregled, issue No. 11 for 1964, p. 13;
D. N. Minchev: "The Border Office at Ungeni during 1877-78," Rossica Journal No. 68 for 1965.
290The term "postal service at Ungeni" refers to one of the main Russian border postal stations for the exchange of
mail with abroad, situated at the village of Ungeni (in Bessarabia), on the Pruth River, close to and north of the
(Rumanian) city of Jassy.
291 Newspaper "B'lgarin," issue No. 21 for 17 December 1877.
292Frederick William von Herbert: "The Defense of Pleven in 1877," Sofia, 1929, p. 245 (cited for the first time
by us; see D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Field Postal Service ..... p. 39).
293CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 34, sh. 10-11.
294ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 81.
295 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 85.
296ibid., sh. 169-172.
297 ibid., A.E. 2, sh. 44 (Second Circular of the Postal Service for 1878).
298ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 1-10.
299ibid., sh. 2-4; A.E. 43, sh. 20-21.
3001bid., A.E. 21, sh. 32.
301 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 1.
302ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 275-76 (with reference to the places to which the field postal agencies were assigned, it is
understandable that we would encounter a good deal of mobility. For example, the 8th. field postal agency was
at Yambol during June 1878, while the 12th. was at Adrianople during the same month; the 14th was at T'rnovo
until April 1878 and the 15th. operated at Giurgiu until the middle of November 1878, when it was moved to
Razgrad; the 18th. field postal agency was originally at Svishtov and the 19th was at Pleven from the end of
November 1877 to April 1878 inclusively).
303Newspaper "The Flying Military Leaflet", issue No. 8 for 30 July 1877.
304Muratov: op. cit., p. 208.
305T. Tsonchev: op. cit. p. 135.
306ibid., p. 12.
307CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 26, sh. 2.
308N. R. Ovsyannyi: op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 106, 107.
309K. Petrov: op. cit., p. 162.
310Muratov: op. cit., p. 107.
311 V. Trubacheev: op. cit., p. 1522.
312N. R. Ovsyannyi: op. cit., Vol. II, p. 229.
313Vi. Trubacheev: op. cit., pp. 1530-1533.
314See the Editorial Comment to the article by D. N. Minchev: "The Rumanian State and the Russian Military Posts in
the War of 1877-78," Rossica Journal, No. 64 for 1963 and D. N. Minchev: "Some Contributions concerning the
Russian Field Postal Service in Rumania during 1877-78," Filatelia, issue No. 1-2 for 1963, pp. 10-11.
315D. N. Minchev: "An unknown 'declared value' letter, sent through the Russian Fieldpost in 1877-1878," Rossica
Journal, No. 69 for 1965.
316We found this on the ticket for traveling by postal cart, issued by the 14th. field postal agency at Adrianople on 1
March 1879 (CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 67, sh. 32). We have also seen a similar marking from the 18th. field postal
agency (CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 64, sh. 22).
317K. Adler: "The 'BEZ. PLAT.' marking," Rossica Journal, No. 76-77 for 1969, pp. 88-89.
"318See D. N. Minchev: "The Russian Postal Agencies in the Dobrudja during 1877-78," Rossica Journal, No. 78 for
1970, pp. 49-51, about this subject.
319CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 43, sh. 1-2.
320ibid., sh. 3.
321 ibid., sh. 5.
322ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 275.
323 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 67.
324 ibid., A.E. 43, sh. 32.
325 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 80.
326 Regarding the establishment and operations of the Russian Field Postal Services on the territory of Rumania, see
D. N. Minchev: "The Rumanian State and the Russian Military Posts in the War of 1877-1878," Filatelia, issues
Nos. 3, 5 & 6 for 1962, pp. 2-3.
327CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 42, sh. 22.
328 ibid., A.E. 84, sh. 149
329 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 276.
"30ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 67.
331S. D. Tchilinghirian: "Used Abroad Chronicle VII," BJRP No. 34, p. 9.
332CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 9, sh. 276.
333 ibid., A.E. 2, sh. 39, 42.
334 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 67.
335 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 85; A.E. 39, sh. 81.
336 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 67; A.E. 122, back of sh. 1.
337 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 30.
338 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 64a.
339 ibid., A.E. 103, sh. 3, according to the "Expenditures" side of the "Ledger for Income and Expenditure of the
Postal Administration in Bulgaria for 1877-1878" and the "Bill" of the Governor of Svishtov, dated 19 Novem-
340 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 27.
341 ibid., A.E. 7, sh. 8.
342 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 31, 49 (Letters of the Acting Governor N. Gerov, under Nos. 931 of 15 October 1877 and No.
1190 of 4 November 1877).
343 ibid., sh. 114, 117.
344 ibid., sh. 122, 123.
345 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 115.
346 ibid., sh. 118.
347 ibid., A.E. 5, sh. 30 (see also VI. Trubacheev: op. cit., p. 1251).
348 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 24, 58, 29, 40; A.E. 9, sh. 36.
349 D. N. Minchev: "The Rumanian Post in Bulgaria ...., Filatelia, issue No. 5 for 1958, pp. 2-3, No. 6 for
1958, p. 5.
350 Franz See: "A Contribution to the Russian Field Postal Service in Bulgaria," Filatelen Pregled, issue No. 11 for
1964, p. 12.
"35 Yanko Rusinov: "History of the Postage Stamp," T'rnovo, 1937, p. 13.
352Dr. Pet'r Tsonchev: "From the Economic Past of Gabrovo," Sofia, 1929, p. 448.
353 D. N. Minchev: "A Contribution to the History of Balkan Philately," B'lgarska Marka, issue No. 4 for 1947;
D. N. Minchev: "Towards a History of Balkan Philately," Filatelia, issue No 5 for 1945; D. N. Minchev:
"Some Contributions concerning the Russian Field Postal Service in Rumania during 1877-1878," Filatelia,
issue No. 1-2 for 1963, pp. 10-11.
354D. N. Minchev: "An Interesting Letter sent through the Russian Fieldpost in 1877," Rossica Journal, No. 67
355M. Iv. Madzharov: "The Russian Civilian Administration in South Bulgaria and its First Organization A Glori-
fication of the War of Liberation of 1877-1878," Sofia, 1929, p. 375; Prof. Khristo Gandev: "Russian Aid in
the Establishment of the Bulgarian State during 1877-1879 The Liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish Yoke
1878-1958," Sofia, 1958, p. 328; Nedelcho Yotov: "Vidin 60 Years of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones,"
p. 214; Konst. Jirecek: "Bulgarian Diary ..., p. 11; Konst. Jirecek: "The Principality of Bulgaria," Vol. I,
"356 S. V. Prigara does not mention the cancellations of the Russian Civilian Postal Service in his indicated book. 0
357CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 39, sh. 13-14.
358 ibid., sh. 17, 18, 37.
359 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 3. The letter "C" stands for a marking of the Civilian Postal Service.
360CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 38, sh. 17. 21; A.E. 39, sh. 37.
361 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 19; A.E. 39, sh. 37.
362 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 17, 21; A.E. 39, sh. 37.
363 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 19; A.E. 39, sh. 37.
364 ibid., A.E. 38, sh. 17, 19, 21; A.E. 39, sh. 37 (We are specifying the sizes of the diameters from the im-
pression supplied by Mr. Franz See).
365 ibid., A.E. 39, sh. 78-79.
366 ibid., A.E. 84, sh. 49.
367 N. Minchev: "An unknown 'declared value' letter .....
368 We should also note as information another dated canceller of Russian origin. This was prepared for the im-
pending opening of postal services at Oryakhovo during April 1879. However, the postal station at Oryakhovo
was opened by the Bulgarian Administration on 10 May 1879 and this station initially utilized the Russian
canceller. This dated postmarker is composed of two concentric circles with diameters of 22 and 19 mm.
respectively. It reads "RAKHOV" at top in Russian and "RAKHOVO" at bottom in Bulgarian; the remaining
details are as for canceller type 10 C.
369CSHA, Stack 523, A.E. 39, sh. 79.
370 ibid., sh. 79. Two administrative markings were also introduced at the same time as these three metal can-
cellers. They were single-circle types with a diameter of 38 mm. and inscriptions in Russian and Bulgarian.
The first was intended for the Postal Administration in Bulgaria and the second for the Director of the Posts.
"371 ibid., sh. 78.
372 ibid., A.E. 103, sh. 8; A.E. 104, sh. 4 (There is also mention of the preparation of cancellers in the Rumanian
capital during 1877 in some letters of Evlogi Georgiev, the eminent Bulgarian merchant at Bucharest (1819-
1897) and of Naiden Gerov (1823-1900), a noted man of letters who was also Russian Vice-Consul at Plovdiv
from 1857 to 1876 and Governor of the Svishtov Province. These particular letters are dated 3 & 16 August
and 13 November 1877. See "From the Archives of Naiden Gerov," Vol. I, Sofia, 1911, p. 158 for letter No.
272, p. 163 for letter No. 279 and pp. 167-168 for letter No. 288. It is not excluded that these markings are
of an administrative character. The Russian Civilian Postal Service did not have a special cachet available for
registered mail in spite of the fact that such a marking had been approved. Therefore, the word "Zakaznoe,"
i.e., "registered" was written by hand on the relevant sending. An example of such a letter is in the collection
of Franz See of Vienna.)
373D. N. Minchev: "An Interesting Marking of the Russian Post," Filatelen Pregled, issue No. 3 for 1965. p. 13
(where we reproduce this particular marking for the first time); D. N. Minchev: "A Special Marking of the Rus
sian Post in Bulgaria during 1877-1879," Rossica Journal, No. 68 for 1965, p. 26; K. Kopanov: "The Postal-
Telegraphic Station under Turkish rule, at the Liberation and immediately thereafter at the town of T'rnovo -
60 Years of the Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones," p. 312; D. N. Minchev: "Further Notes on the Russian Mark-
ing for the Postal Department in T'rnovo," Rossica Journal, No. 70 for 1965, p. 74.
374 Tr. Khr. Trifonov: op. cit., p. 69.
375 T. Tsonchev: op. cit., I, p. 34-35.
"376 Some authors indicate widely diverging figures in reference to the total number of postal stations in existence at
the end of April 1879 and inherited by the Bulgarian Administration. Some claim that they amounted to nine
(T. Tsonchev: op. cit., p. 43), according to others, there were 26 (T. Tsonchev: op. cit., I, p. 331; Franz See:
"A Contribution to the History .," p. 276; "80 Years of the Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones 1879-1959,"
Sofia, 1959, p. 43, etc., etc.). Still others affirm that the number of stations handed over came to 27 (T. Prama-
tarov: "60 Years of Bulgarian Postal Communications 60 Years of the Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones,"
pp. 66, 75; K. Petrov: op. cit., p. 172; "The Report of Georgi Yankov 60 Years of the Bulgarian Posts,
Telegraphs and Telephones," Sofia, 1939, p. 36, etc.). It appears from all this that these authors have also in-
cluded the telegraph stations in their totals.
"377CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 110, back of sh. 39, back of sh. 41, back of sh. 49, back of sh. 51, back of sh. 53,
back of sh. 59, sh. 73, 81, 89, 96, 104, 110, 118, 124, 130, back of sh. 136.
378 In regard to this, see D. N. Minchev: "A Classification of the Activities of the Russian Posts in Bulgaria during
the War of 1877-1878," Filateliya SSSR, issue No. 6 for 1967, pp. 37-38; also D. N. Minchev: "A Classification
of Bulgarian Philately from 1877 to 1879," COMPEX-71 Directory, Chicago, 1971, pp. 73-75.
378a Regarding this subject, see D. N. Minchev: "Some Unknown Data on the ROPiT Postal Activities at Varna,"
Rossica Journal, No. 79 for 1970, pp. 42-47.
379CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 21, sh. 1, 10.
380 ibid., sh. 10.
381 During the spring of 1877, T. P. Yuzefovich was the Russian Consul at the city of Salonica (Newspaper "Maritsa,"
Vol. I, issue No. 4 for 8 Aug. 1878, p. 1).
382 During the month of Oct. 1878, the Office of the Imperial Commissioner, headed by Prince Dondukov, was moved
to Sofia, the capital of the Principality of Bulgaria.
383 CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 55, sh. 3-4 (We have found another version of the same letter in A.E. 55, sh. 5-6,
being dated 23 Aug., i.e., a day later).
384 ibid., sh. 9-11.
"385 ibid., A.E. 21, sh. 32.
386 ibid., A.E. 55, sh. 12.
"387 ibid., sh. 14.
"388 ibid., sh. 16.
389 ibid., sh. 19-20.
390 ibid., sh. 18.
391 V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko: "After the War," SPB, 1880, p. 77. He is also the author of other books devoted to
the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, in which he took part as a war correspondent.
392 Around the end of April 1880, the ROPiT agent at Varna was the Bulgarian merchant Ivan G. Karlovskii.
393CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 41, sh. 103.
394 ibid., sh. 115.
395 ibid., A.E. 13, sh. 8-9.
396 ibid., sh. 14-15.
397 ibid., A.E. 3, sh. 98.
398 ibid., sh. 2.
399 ibid., A.E. 15, sh. 58.
400 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 162, 164 (Letters Nos. 1065 & 1066 of 13 & 14 June 1877).
401 ibid., A.E. 13, sh. 28.
402 ibid., A.E. 53, sh. 13.
403 ibid., A.E. 41, sh. 252.
404 ibid., A.E. 64, sh. 3-4.
405 ibid., A.E. 18, sh. 26-27. Letter No. 248 of 26 Jan. 1879 from the Imperial Commissioner to the Principality of
Bulgaria to the Governor-General of Eastern Roumelia.
406 The document is held at the "Cyril & Methodius" National Library, Department of the Bulgarian Historical Ar
chives, Sofia, Stack No. 112, A.E. 186, sh. 23 (published for the first time in D. N. Minchev: "New Data about
the Russian Postal Services in our country during 1877-1878," Filatelen Pregled, issue No. 12 of 1961, pp.16-17).
407CSHA, Stack No. 523, A.E. 9, sh. 143.
408 ibid., sh. 231, 232 (There is yet another document about the same topic: see A.E. 21, sh. 36).
409 ibid., sh. 249.
410ibid., A.E. 71, sh. 41-42.
411 ibid., A.E. 72, sh. 62, 63.
412 ibid., A.E. 13, sh. 1, 2.
413 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 267.
414 ibid., A.E. 9, sh. 276.
415 ibid., A.E. 107, sh. 23, 24.
416 ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 11.
"417 ibid., A.E. 20, sh. 15, 16; A.E. 122, back of sh. 14.
418 We have covered these in detail in the section entitled "Field Postal Stations."
419 This "Notice" was published in Russian and Bulgarian in the newspaper "Maritsa," Vol. II, Nos. 71, 72 & 73 for
6, 10 & 13 April 1879.
420N. R. Ovsyannyi: "Collection of Materials about the Civilian Administration and Occupation in Bulgaria in
1877-78-79," Issue No. 4, SPB, 1905, pp. 418-423.
421CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 204, sh. 69.
421a ibid., sh. 70.
421bCSHA, Stack No. 586, A.E. 64, sh. 148
422 Newspaper "Maritsa," Vol. II, No. 77 for 27 April 1879, p. 1.
423 Newspaper "Maritsa," Vol. II, No. 83 for 18 May 1879, p. 5
424 N. R. Ovsyannyi: "Collection of Materials ......," pp. 418-423.
425 Tchilinghirian & Stephen: op. cit., Vol. I, p. 90.
426 Tchilinghirian & Stephen: op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 90-93; S. D. Tchilinghirian: "Used Abroad Chronicle VII,"
BJRP No. 34, p. 9 for the Karlovo cancel; "Outstanding Covers" for the cancels of Chirpan and Plovdiv in the
same journal and issue, p. 15.
427 See the Editorial Comment in D. N. Minchev: "A Typical Letter from Eastern Roumelia," Rossica Journal,
No. 76-77 for 1969, p. 90.
428 Tchilinghirian & Stephen: op. cit., I, p. 95.
429 These particular documents are held at the Central State Historical Archives (CSHA) in Sofia, forming part of
Stack No. 178, Inventory No. 1 and Stack No. 586, Inventory No. 1.
"430CSHA, Stack No. 586, A.E. 19, sh 1.
431CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 145, sh. 3.
432 ibid., sh. 21.
433 ibid., sh. 23-24.
434 ibid., sh. 7.
435 ibid., sh. 10.
436 ibid., sh. 20.
437CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 202, sh. 11-12.
438 ibid., sh. 6-7.
439 ibid., sh. 8.
440 ibid., sh. 9-10.
441 ibid., sh. 4.
"442 ibid., sh. 2-3.
443CSHA. Stack No. 178, A.E 204. sh. 38-41
444 ibid., sh 20-22
445 ibid., sh. 31
446 Ibid 43.
447 ibid., sh. 50.
"48CSHA, Stack No. 178, A E 202. sh 23 28. 32
b449 bid., sh. 29-31
4O ibid sh 18.
451CSHA, Stack No 178. AE 191, sh 3.
452 ibid., sh. 13
4'3 ibid sh. 12
454 ibid., sh. 11.
4'5CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E 265 sh 3
-46 ibid sh. 6.
4b5 ibid., sh. 9.
458 ibid., sh. 9
49CSHA, Stack No 178, A.E. 195, sh. 2; A.E. 265, sh. 3.
4boCSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 195, sh. 4.
461 ibid., sh. 18 (The same quantity of envelopes for 1 March also. See CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 265, sh. 6).
462CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E 195, sh. 19 (The same quantity of postage stamps for 1 April also. See CSHA,
Stack No. 178, A.E. 265, sh 9).
46CSHA, Stack No. 178. A.E 265, sh 14.
464 ibid., A.E. 204, sh. 19.
465 ibid., sh. 5
466 ibid., sh. 17-18.
46/ ibid., sh 36-37
"468 ibid., sh. 55-56.
469 ibid., sh. 57-58.
470CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 329, sh. 5.
471 ibid., sh. 3.
"472 ibid., sh. 14.
473 ibid., sh. 7.
"474 ibid., sh. 11.
"475CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 202, sh. 35-36.
476 CSHA, Stack No. 178, A.E. 36, sh. 5-6.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: In giving us the results of his wonderful find of over 10,000 documents relating to this
period in the Central State Historical Archives at Sofia, Mr. Minchev has also incorporated previously published infor-
mation, both from his pen and also other sources, to make his study as comprehensive as possible, as demonstrated
by the many footnotes. There is no doubt this work will remain the standard reference for many years to come.
A tabulation based on this study and further items from the collections of Kurt Adler and Dr. C. Stackelberg is set
out hereunder to help members fix the places of origin for any of the field postal markings they may discover:
Office or Agency
Number Time Frame Location
F.P.O. No. 1 (a) April 1877. Kishinev, Bessarabia.
(b) May 1877. Ploiesti, Rumania.
(c) July 1877 to mid Svishtov, Bulgaria.
(d) Mid Feb.-July 1878. Ruse, Bulgaria.
(e) Nov. 1878-3 Feb. 1879 Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey).
(f) From 3 Feb. 1879. Burgas, Eastern Roumelia (South Bulgaria)
F.P.A. No. 1 Nov. 1878. Ruse (Rustchuk), Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 2 Nov. 1878. Galatz (Galati), Rumania.
F.P.A. No. 3 (a) 1 Dec. 1877. Somewhere in Rumania.
(b) Nov. 1878. Megidie, Northern Dobrudja, Rumania.
F.P.A. No. 4 (a) End 1877. Bucharest, Rumania.
(b) Nov. 1877-Mar. 1879. Varna, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 5 Nov. 1878. Tulcea, Rumania.
F.P.A. No. 6 Nov. 1878. Khadzhi Oglu Pazardzhik (now Tolbukhin,
Southern Dobrudja, Bulgaria).
F.P.A. No. 7 Nov. 1878. Bucharest, Rumania.
F.P.A. No. 8 (a) June 1878. Yambol, Eastern Roumelia (South Bulgaria).
(b) Nov. 1878. Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey).
F.P.A. No. 9 Nov. 1878-Mar. 1879. Silistra, Southern Dobrudja, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 10 Nov. 1878. Kirk-Kilise (now Kirklareli, Turkey).
Office or Agency
Number Time Frame Location
F.P.A. No. 11 (a) To end 1877. Somewhere in Rumania.
(b) Most of 1878. Somewhere between Gabrovo & T'rnovo, Bulgaria.
____ (c) Nov. 1878-Mar. 1879. Shumen, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 12 (a) June 1878. Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey).
(b) Nov. 1878-Feb. 1879. Plovdiv, Eastern Roumelia (South Bulgaria).
F.P.A. No. 13 Nov. 1878-Mar. 1879. Orkhanie, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 14 (a) 4 Dec. 1877. Svishtov, Bulgaria.
(b) April 1878. T'rnovo, Bulgaria.
(c) Nov. 1878. Adrianople (now Edirne. Turkey).
F.P.A. No. 15 (a) 15 Oct. 1877 to mid Zimnicea, Rumania.
(b) Mid Feb. to mid Nov. Giurgiu, Rumania.
(c) Nov. 1878. Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey).
(d) Dec. 1878 to Mar.1879 Razgrad, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 16 Nov. 1878. Burgas, Eastern Roumelia (South Bulgaria).
F.P.A. No. 17 Nov. 1878. Sliven, Eastern Roumelia (South Bulgaria).
F.P.A. No. 18 (a) Sometime before Svishtov, Bulgaria.
(b) Nov. 1878 to Pleven, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 19 (a) end Nov. 1877 to Pleven, Bulgaria.
(b) Nov. 1878 to Nikopol, Bulgaria.
F.P.A. No. 20 Nov. 1878 Yambol, Eastern Roumelia (South Bulgaria).
Finally, to close on a light note, we can say that Mr. Minchev's footnote No. 81 on the large number of places in
Bulgaria with the name "Novo Seio" (New Village) is most apt. There are so many that a Bulgarian joke says the
only way to distinguish between two of them in the same district is to call one of them "Staro Novo Selo" (Old
New Village) and the other "Novo Novo Selo" (New New Village) !!
A--.-.- Office jZimnicea
A. O e "THE RUSSIAN POSTAL
0 7 -"Agency SERVICES IN BULGARIA
QO ---. Stations Svishtov
(for changing DURING 1877-79",
horses). 'sarevets by D. N. Minchev.
Bylala At left:
Karaqach Diagram of the postal
PavlovA. establishments and
SB'lgarene routes in Bulgaria,
S.Studena dating from around the
end of December 1877
and bearing the signature
of Vladimir Trubacheev,
Kochina the Director of the
"Postal Division in
ovech rn0O "v '
1 45kandzhilar '
N ovo Sel -"
Sevlievo Y t)ryanovo 3Z
e44A/ew' e^cjA^/ ^ ^ii *r"-' ^,<'T<<*
At right: 2, .cO
A traveling ticket with /A u-> e 4-f ^"
the wax seal of F.P.A.
No. 14 at Adrianople, /Al-e.(eA^ vZ-- --- ,
issued on 1 March 1879 -
for Assistant-Postmaster "L
Gavarkov of F.P.A. No. 8,
to proceed from
Adrianople to Sofia.
Mr. Gavarkov bore the Z c -e
title of "Collegiate
Registrator", the most
subordinate rank in the
Imperial Russian Civil
AOH/A.4A.H 3An AHCHA
J-- ..4O )- "THE RUSSIAN
*'M',', i *...d-*. POSTAL SERVICES
-..... '",^ --- "-, 7by D. N. Minchev.
M **2-- ^ 7J d r
th ..4. .
S.---- At left: Report
"""_ -J./ No.62 of 24 Sep.
S7 ^ ,,,.-. 1877 by Prince
.3 i'. Cherkasskii to
v-., -- ,. ,<.,...,2, .,<_, .,,.,,p. ,;.., the C. i C. re
S- establishment of
C -. --., ,- **_'
Sy Russian stamps,
(Y X C envelopes and
-- -*-" WAc- -' -- 'iy postal cards.
G-L Below: Metal
,, r- .seal No. 1 of
/ Post Office.
-""^>^-^ --Type 3 C.
-.dated. 19 Apr._ 17..r
of-. th-e Gabrovo I 12 of the Fvishtov
J. 1- Pota Agency, 12 Office, dated *
,' "-,f,'^ ^e-^\- e1Feb. 1878. -
1 i .t 19 A
^^< ^/^yy^'rf^'/^ 'os fie
"THE RUSSIAN PnSTLi SSERVICrTS IN BULGARIA DURING 1877-79", by D. N. Minchev.
S.P.A. No. 1,
/ dated 27 Feb.
:4- /,4 14 .
6 7....., 4., .._- .. -- -,--<^ <- ---;- -
y i / ,- .t
-1r cuc. m^ ^- ^ ,
,w V /from Postal
----- Dept. ,F.P.O.
No. 1,25 Nov.
m1878 to Pleven,
-_ I 28 Nov. 1878.
A)ove; Beginninq and end of a letter from Svishtov, S
15 Feb. 1878, b, VIIin]Jir Trubachc-.i t( Ccn. D. G. 7
Annchi-n, abo-It ti-p et al I,-hment ,n-ci -aintenance o Postmark of.
postal affairs in Bulgaria. F.P.A. No. 20,
-87- dated 17 Feb.
"28 Nov. 1878.
0 .. S
soicRla% AsiCTaYmiil API ali
rasMnu cEsaplrsp C. CTuano. 6-ro Man 1818 rop,. z
r'.iasmoKaOHM!.LKou Apiek J ninKaLs.b, rITo4 ,xra uepok toi hol pueawcKa
takniaur x parnop e.ruiht lito.euaro IllraGa, a Taxr.Ke r.it 6ucrlarr noi.y'iieai mclleeela, cn
yerpoeir 6v..n HwHm me nrseay oJai'nmsIH .wI lllr6orn a UIIraamu trpstAor, IIIrn i5
6ais oTAkb.limui Kopnycovr, He IxoArutlsrk coTarlS oTrpIun, a llIrl6amas u l
nepemu.1i:m KoueJl lulB. Il i s DAP
Au cero Ao.inia AuTrK ar* s we xrnrporra i y p1 6eu r t anonra, ao c.IiYnWi4urm -- A78En n
lupau.esim.: w : _l
On C. CTC*UIIo ina Alpiono. 1i.ke no A*yul Tlparat I.) e)as 4LI.no o.A
S2 c) u )lsmo.iu a i.rLc spe C.asuo. K.rcas. (K&a3a. UOcwr. Uai ap, :rVov AA-a)m, Above: A remarkable letter with
I 'urpai, Pytuy.s u a Hyaper. Kpo.x iorn, .'to mrt!, pcwuu nsa rpcr-, u.T h- markings of Svishtov PO. ,5 Mar c
AMk efoMepUemso, res6ofirsi C ycBnas.,ua rr< 11ocrola-M nHock.19A W.Vpspurs si .7
Cre*An cpeuS Oaec,6y Rnnpa.jb Ik-meA, I'Acr.am, n8i( yPLapees.. l t 1878; T'rnovo P.O., 5 & 10 Mar.
Cesau mr i O.qicc i .1 1.iiac E@ Jb a.llqL)u, I'a.l&llui, lb EyPCet and.
lio IwNI t.pasan, r,oupru ll..1acuu IllIraM ni oai.llNaseue llsh IIItru A and Gabrovo P.A., 10 Mar. 1878.
S-.tS11% IIIra6oRb r IITa6Ai ApaNis piu.in.s rC auIMI * urXMn lluammui, Kyptp.I H
ma, r1 KypbepCKli% eyMlas,, apl pajnOClb xs nKmaI'll, KsOupUI .t0.1WISf 61b L-- >
*Y rmUM V Vrm% mv9 aiamn 3aK.
IJOJEBAB lORZTA. Above; Order No. 39 /
of 6 May 1878 for .
I establishment of
services for the -J
1^ P B.mpiueti Army. /
* /'. .. .- I. /.I "
ZW .1. V.I^ /W
b '/. ,. as, a. 6,.
"" ,.. /' -- At left: Receipt / //
S!"U '"'/1'.- ? for money sent
S\- with the marking
e-- J O. of F.P.O. No. 1, Above: Letter from
n ,'-,-- dated 9 Nov. 1878. Sevlievo, 30.IX(should 0
__ _._-- be XI). 78 to Postal i
Admn., Adrianople (D
F.P.O.No.1,2 Dec. 1878. -.