“Let’s raise the generation utterly devoted to the cause of communism!” Viktor Ivanov, 1947
Soviet propaganda posters first appeared following the success of the Russian Revolution. They were used to promote the revolution, stir optimism for a new society (one that stood for literacy and improvement of health care) and to attack opponents of Lenin’s government. Very few newspapers were published during the time and therefore the posters served as a primary means of communication. During the Russian Revolution, the posters were sent to the front lines of Communist opposition cities with the warning that “anyone who tears down or covers up this poster is committing a counter-revolutionary act”.
With Stalin in charge by the 1930s, the posters began to focus more on political discipline and ambitious government programs, particularly the collectivization of land and establishment of industry. Subsequently, many produced powerful and dynamic posters with bright colors and distinct shapes. However, these were later replaced with more lifelike images. The red star – the Soviet Red Army’s symbol – was also ubiquitous, as was the hammer and sickle. The posters were used throughout World War 2 for a panoply of reasons: to promote the Russian cause, convince people to enlist and to boost citizen morale.
“Let’s thrash it!” By Victor Deni, 1930
This poster was used in the first half of the century in order to improve social and cultural elements of the country. In the poster, a man smashes an alcohol bottle with a hammer inscribed the “Cultural Revolution.” At the time, alcohol was considered an enemy of the revolution. The poster also has a poem underneath it, which translates to the following:
You, there, don’t trifle with booze
D’rather thrash it
At your every step,
Give no rest to the enemy.
Amazing Soviet Propaganda Posters: “Have you enlisted in the army?” By Dmitry Moor
In order to garner the support of Russian workers for the revolution, this famous poster used the image of the Red Army soldier questioning the viewer rather brusquely about his or her commitment to the revolution.