The Russian town of Wenden issued stamps between 1862 and 1901. They are listed in the world wide catalogs. The Michel catalog has a note referencing to the Zemstvo issues. Which makes one think they are to be considered Zemstvos. But the specialized Chuchin Zemstvo catalog has no listing for the Wenden issues - as far as I can tell.
Does anyone know more? Such as, by who's authority the Wenden stamps were issued if not under the Zemstvo regime? Any info would be much appreciated.
Zemstvos have a lot of mysteries. Wenden is in some catalogs and not in others. Cuchin missed well over 100 issues in his catalog so non inclusion is not a determining factor.
From a History of Zemstvos
From: The Zemstvo postage stamps of Imperial Russia -Alex Artuchov 1987 (5 volume set) WENDEN (Lifland) issued its first stamp in 1863, a year before the Bill was signed which prepared the way for the normal Zemstvo posts. These are the only stamps of this kind to receive recognition by our catalogue compilers, yet the postal conditions of this region fall into the same category as all the other districts of the Russian Empire. Whether the lawful right to issue their own stamps can be traced back to a circular issued by the Minister of the Interior, or to the political intrigues of the all powerful Baltic Barons who undoubtedly enjoyed special privileges, which, in turn, were shared by the provinces under their control, does not alter in the least the character of the stamps. They are in every detail positively Zemstvo issues. As they are the only stamps to appear in the whole of the Baltic provinces, one must conclude that they owed both their introduction and long life to the political power of the barons. The post was closed on 23. 4. 1903.
FATEZH, TIFLIS, ZEMINOGORSK, AMUR and a few others also fall in a somewhat grey zone as being Zemstvo's
I looked into the institute of the Zemstvo as such some more. The Zemstvo, in short, is a form of local self government, with a council and executive institutions for matters such as education and, indeed, postal services. The establishment of a Zemstvo was, for each province or district, officially approved by the central authorities. Then I found these two quotes that seem relevant:
Based on these quotes, one would have to conclude, that the Wenden issues, technically, were no Zemstvo issues, because there were no Zemstvos in the Baltic provinces. That for all practical purposes the Wenden local postal service functioned as the Zemstvo services did, is another matter. Maybe, I have to accept, that the question by whose authority the service operated, will remain unanswered, when Alex Artuchov in his 5 volume publication on Zemstvos has not found the answer.........