New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are major events in today’s Russia and was the same in the former Soviet Union when religion was essentially banned under Communist rule. Christmas holiday traditions were transferred to new year celebrations.
The Soviet Union started producing annual new year stamps in the early 1960s. The first such stamp included a label with “Happy New Year” inscribed in colorful, flowing script. It was a very soft and warm design compared to many of the heavy, industrial-style designs of the typical stamp from the Soviet Union.
Several new year stamps thereafter included images of snowflakes, the Kremlin’s famous Spasskaya (also Spasski) Tower and rockets — yes, let’s of rockets! It’s not unusual to find spaceflight imagery on Soviet New Year issues, some stamps and many cards. James G. Reichman wrote a whole book on it called Soviet New Year’s Issues Related to Spaceflight (2013) and noted 468 items depicting spaceflight on Soviet postal items, many of them special postal cards.
As the political climate changed in the 1990s, Russia started including more Christmas images on its new year’s stamps, including Grandfather Frost (looking a LOT like Santa Claus) and his sleigh, decorated Christmas trees and brightly wrapped presents.