West Ukrainian National Republic

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(Redirected from Western Ukrainian Republic)

The West Ukrainian National Republic (Західно Українська Народна Республика, Zakhidno Ukrayinska Narodna Respublyka or ЗУНР, ZUNR) was a short-lived republic that existed in late 1918 and early 1919 in eastern Galicia, Bukovina and Transcarpathia and included the cities of L'viv, Kolomyya, and Stanislav.

Its coat of the arms was yellow lion on the blue field looking to the right. The colors of the flag were yellow and blue.

The republic was proclaimed on 1 November 1918 and merged with the Ukrainian National Republic on 22 January 1919. Shortly after the republic proclaimed independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire a popular uprising took place in L'viv. A few weeks later it received support from Poland, and after a fratricidal war Poland took over most of Galicia. In 1920 Poland and Ukraine agreed to a border on the river Zbruch.

Postage stamps

The republic managed to issue about 100 types of postage stamps during its brief existence, all but two of which are overprints on existing stamps of Austria or Bosnia.

Missing image
This overprint of May 1919 is on a 5-heller stamp of Austria.

The first were four stamps overprinted in L'viv, with a design of a lion and the inscription "Zakhidno-Ukrainska Narodna Republika", but these were in use for only two days there. Another four Austrian stamps were surcharged with "УКР.Н.Р" (ukr.n.r in Cyrillic), and a new denomination in shahs (шаг), one with 5sh and three with 10sh. These are rather uncommon today, with prices for collectors ranging from US$100 to $1000, and forgeries are plentiful.

In March, officials in Stanislav surcharged 16 values of 1916 Austrian stamps with "ПОШТА// УКР.Н.РЕП." (POSHTA UKR.N.REP.) and denominations ranging from 3 shahs up to 10 hryvnia. The same surcharge was also applied to Austrian military stamps and postage due stamps, as well as to the 1904 postage dues of Bosnia.

In May, Austrian stamps were overprinted with the Ukrainian trident-in-shield arms with the letters "З. У. Н. Р." (Z. U. N. R.), one at each corner, for "West Ukrainian National Republic". These saw very little use, and forged cancellations are commonplace.

The sole non-overprinted issue was a pair of registration stamps issued in Kolomyya, having the form of a label used for registered mail, but unlike most labels, denominated with values of 30 and 50 shahs, in order to pay registration fees.

Of the stamps issued, only the trident overprints are common, costing about USD $1 or EUR €1. Of the other, some are quite rare, with prices ranging up to $5,000.


  • John Bulat, Illustrated Postage Stamp History of Western Ukrainian Republic 1918-1919 (Yonkers, NY: Philatelic Publications, 1973)

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