Overprinted Soviet Stamps
Toward the end of the former Soviet Union, new postal rates were introduced. Most people in former Soviet countries used pre-stamped envelopes, so additional postage would be required to mail these old envelopes under the new rates. Authorities shipped large quantities of one- to five-kopeck stamps to post offices to add to pre-stamped covers. Later, when Ukraine declared independence, there were many such stamps in sheets in every post office.
Despite this rationing, however, the first issues were quickly sold out and shortages continued. No stamps were available for local use, and postmasters were at their wit's end to serve their clientele. What were they to do? One answer presented itself.
According to Kuzych, three major Ukrainian cities are known to have issued legitimate overprinted provisionals on Soviet stamps: Chernihiv, Kyiv and Lviv. However, Lobko's Catalog also includes the Zaporizhzhia oblast, particularly the city of Melitopol, as also having trident overprints on Soviet stamps. Overprints from Melitopol are somewhat difficult to describe, as they appear on a much wider variety of Soviet stamps. In addition, there are even variations in the appearance of the trident.
My first exposure to trident overprints was in about 1993, when I saw some mail sent to my parents from relatives in Lviv. I thought that it seemed an elegant political statement to take the Ukrainian national trident symbol or trizub and overstamp it on a Soviet stamp.
To date, however, Scott does not list contemporary trident overprints. According to Scott, "Numerous trident overprints exist on recent Soviet stamps. These may be locals. Their status is being investigated."