N. Petrov (Петров, Н), “It is our good fortune that in the trying years of the war the Red Army and the Soviet people were led forward by the wise and tested leader of the Soviet Union the great Stalin. With the name of Generalissimo Stalin the glorious victories of our army will go down in the history of our country and in the history of the world. Under the guidance of Stalin, the great leader and organizer, we are now proceeding to peaceful, constructive labours, striving to bring the forces of Socialist society to full frui- tion and to justify the dearest hopes of our friends all over the world.” V. Molotov (“…это наше счастье, что в трудные годы войны Красную Армию и советский народ вел вперед мудрый и испытанный вождь Советского Союза – Великий Сталин. С именем Генералиссимуса Сталина войдут в историю нашей страны и во всемирную историю славные победы нашей армии. Под руководством Сталина, великого вождья и организатора, мы приступили теперь к мирному строительства , чтобы добиться настоящего расцвета сил социалистического общества и оправдать лучшие надежды наших друзей во всем мире”. В. Молотов), 1948
This 1948 poster by N. Petrov shows Stalin in uniform seated at his desk, wholly absorbed in writing in a large book. Behind him, the Spassky tower juts into a hazy sky, the red star atop the steeple blazing like a beacon, even in daylight.
On the top right is a simple framed portrait of Lenin, Stalin’s teacher and inspiration. The text of the poster quotes Vyacheslav Molotov’s speech of 7 November 1945, which credits Stalin with victory in the war. By putting the attribution of credit for victory to Stalin into the mouth of Molotov, Stalin can retain his personal modesty.
Depicting Stalin in grayscale, except for his military insignia, marks him as a legendary and extraordinary figure, like Lenin
It is interesting to note that, while the poster is in full colour, featuring soft pastel hues, Stalin is in black-and-white, except for his military insignia. His hair and flesh are in grayscale, as is Lenin’s portrait in the background.
Many, although certainly not all, posters depict Stalin as a photograph, a cameo, or a sketch, often amid an otherwise colourful and ‘realistic’ background. This tactic seems to support the idea that, although Stalin acts in the real world, he is not a real man, made of flesh and blood, but an image and symbol, whose presence in the poster stands for a number of other referenced qualities and values.
Lenin’s portrait provides guidance, inspiration and legitimacy to Stalin’s work