Stalin poster of the week is a weekly excursion into the fascinating world of propaganda posters of Iosif Stalin, leader of the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953.
Here, Anita Pisch will showcase some of the most interesting Stalin posters, based on extensive research in the archives of the Russian State Library, and analyse what makes these images such successful propaganda.
Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.
This charming Uzbek poster was published in Tashkent by Uzbek Poligraf in a small edition of 3000 in 1950.
Its publication coincides with an increasing impetus for literacy and secondary and vocational training for professional specialisation in Uzbekistan from 1950 onward.
Literacy at a primary level had been steadily growing since the 1920s and rapidly accelerated after about 1932.
From 1946, Uzbekistan embarked on a massive cultural program of language and literary training in the Uzbek language – 46% of the books published were textbooks or children’s books (see William Kenneth Medlin, William Marion Cave, Finley Carpentier, Education and Development in Central Asia: A Case Study on Social Change in Uzbekistan, 1971).
In this poster, publishing is seen as a means of disseminating propaganda and spreading the values, beliefs and ideology of the Communist Party. The poster shows several generations of Uzbeks, possibly all one family, reading a variety of newspapers that are specifically aimed at their demographic.
The white-haired gentleman reads Eastern Pravda, a serious newspaper pitched at an educated reader. Stalin and Lenin are portrayed on the cover in profile in a similar manner to their appearances on banners in posters. Stalin, in military collar, is the man of action. Lenin, in white collar and tie, is the man of words. Lenin now sits in Stalin’s shadow.
The greying gentleman on his left reads Red Uzbekistan with a visionary Stalin in military uniform on the cover.
The married couple discuss a copy of Young Leninist together, the woman wearing traditional Uzbek headgear, a suit jacket, and a medal – most likely an award for Communist labour.
The young blond woman reads the Uzbek Komsomol newspaper while the children read Lenin’s Spark.
The poster caption, ‘Printing should grow by leaps and bounds, this is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party’, is a quote from Stalin, taken from a final word on the organisational report of the Central Committee at the XII Congress of the RCP (b) 19 April 1923.
Anita Pisch‘s new book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 – 1953, is now available for free download through ANU Press open access, or to purchase in hard copy for $83. This lavishly illustrated book, featuring reproductions of over 130 posters, examines the way in which Stalin’s image in posters, symbolising the Bolshevik Party, the USSR state, and Bolshevik values and ideology, was used to create legitimacy for the Bolshevik government, to mobilise the population to make great sacrifices in order to industrialise and collectivise rapidly, and later to win the war, and to foster the development of a new type of Soviet person in a new utopian world.
Visit Dr Anita Pisch’s website at www.anitapisch.com