Following the abdication of Nicholas II, the Russian Provisional Government was established during the 1917 February Revolution. Later that year, armed workers and deserting soldiers - the so-called 'Red Guard', directed by the Bolshevik Party, gained control of Petrograd (re-named St. Petersburg) and began an immediate armed takeover of cities and villages throughout Russia. In January 1918, the Bolsheviks had the Russian Constituent Assembly dissolved, and proclaimed the Soviets as the new government of Russia.
A diverse confederation of anti-Bolshevik forces aligned themselves against the new Communist government. Their military forces, bolstered by foreign influence (withdrawal from the First World War, and a fear of spreading Communism throughout Europe were just two reasons behind that support), and led by General Yudenich, Admiral Kolchak and General Denikin, became known as the 'White Army'. They controlled significant parts of the former Russian empire for most of the war.
This period of military conflict lasted from 1917 to 1923, and produced many exciting stamp issues with new designs, plus overprinted & surcharged Empire period stamps, thus providing a rich source of interest for the philatelist. Between 1921 and 1922, Soviet Russia also saw a dramatic period of hyperinflation that reached in excess of over 200%. This further added to the misery of the citizenship, but still provided postal historians with many spectacular covers! However, the worst inflation would not be seen until 1992, when during the first year of economic reforms the rate exceeded 2500%!
The years following the final Communist victories saw the creation of the U.S.S.R., with the famous Worker, Soldier and Peasant definitive issues forming the background of stamp issuing policy. With the slow introduction of atmospheric Commemorative sets, from the surprising first choice of the 1923 Moscow Agricultural Exhibition, to the less unlikely choice of the 1924 Lenin Mourning issue, produced just one week after his death on 21 January