stalin poster of the week 62: pen varlen, the path to our glory is immutable – fascism will die! the enemy will fall! we were inspired by the great Lenin – the great Stalin leads us in battle!, 1942

1942 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Pen Varlen

Pen Varlen (Пен Варлен), The path to our glory is immutable – Fascism will die! The enemy will fall! We were inspired by the great Lenin – the great Stalin leads us in battle! (Путь нашей славы неизменен – Фашизм погибнет ! Враг падет! Нас вдохновил ВЕЛИКИЙ ЛЕНИН – ВЕЛИКИЙ СТАЛИН в бой ведет!), 1942

 

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.

A striking Uzbek poster featuring Lenin and Stalin, Pen Varlen’s 1942 ‘The path to our glory is immutable — Fascism will die! …’, shows an infinite wedge of Soviet peoples surging forward to take on the enemy. The huge mass moves as one body and consists not only of military personnel, but also of nurses and civilians of a variety of ethnicities.

 

El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky), Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919

El Lissitzky (Lazar Markovich Lissitzky), Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919

 

This wedge may reference the famous abstract poster of 1919 by El Lissitzky ‘Beat the whites with the red wedge’, a piece of Bolshevik propaganda used during the Civil War.

 

Detail of 1942 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Pen Varlen

This figurative infinite wedge of surging fighters echoes the abstract wedge of the famous 1919 poster by El Lissitzky

 

In the 1942 poster, the sky is dominated by the huge diagonal field of a sweeping red banner, with hammer and sickle thrusting forward, and behind it the sketched figure of Stalin is shadowed by the ghostly white silhouette of Lenin.

The sketch of Stalin has distinguishing features, tone and depth; however, he does not occupy the same space as the Soviet citizens. Stalin inhabits the world of the banner and simply disappears below the waist.

 

Detail of 1942 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Pen Varlen

The ghost of Lenin shadows Stalin as he thrusts the population forward to win the war

 

Stalin’s right arm is flung out, the hand extended to indicate the way forward to victory, palm open almost as if it is he who provides the momentum for the people below. Stalin appears on a giant scale and dwarfs the silhouette of the Kremlin.

The spirit of Lenin appears as Stalin’s shadow, almost morphing them into the same person, and is even larger than Stalin.

While Lenin’s pose is almost exactly that of Stalin, the same upthrust jaw and outstretched arm, Stalin’s left arm hangs at his side whereas Lenin’s is bent and held high against his body. While Lenin’s coattail flaps, Stalin’s clothing is orderly and undisturbed.

These minor variances highlight the difference in rhetorical style between the two men — Lenin speaking urgently, leaning forward, moving his body; Stalin calm and still — and also the fact that, while Lenin was on his way to socialism, Stalin has already arrived.

The full text of the poster reads:

The way to our glory is immutable — fascism will die! The enemy will fall! We were inspired by the great Lenin — the great Stalin leads us in battle!

The caption names Lenin as the inspiration for both Stalin and the Soviet people, although it is Stalin who now leads the battle, bridging the spiritual and corporeal worlds.

Kliment Voroshilov, who had committed serious errors as marshal of the Soviet Union during the Russo–Finnish War of 1940, has disappeared from war propaganda.

 

Pen Varlen

Pen Varlen

 

Pen Varlen (1916-1990) was a Goryeoin, a Korean born in Russia, outside the Korean national border when Korea lost its sovereignty. In addition to his contributions to Soviet art, he also established the foundations of North Korean art.

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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website can be found at www.anitapisch.com

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stalin poster of the week 61: a.a. babitskii, under the leadership of comrade stalin, forward – to the final defeat of the enemy!, 1944

1944 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Babitskii

A.A. Babitskii (A.A. Бабицки), Under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, forward – to the final defeat of the enemy! (Под водительством товарища сталина, вперед – на окончательный разгром врага!), 1944

 

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.

A.A. Babitskii’s poster of 1944, while employing many of the familiar motifs of other war-era posters, shows an increase in confidence in ultimate victory in the Great Patriotic War.

 

Detail of 1944 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Babitskii

Lenin is a picture of confident determination

 

The ghostly head of Lenin on a large red banner dominates the sky. The sacred Spassky tower of the Kremlin, here bathed in the reddish-golden light reflected off the banner, glows in the background, and a tank rushes forward to battle under the protective red banner.

The giant figure of Stalin in his military uniform dominates the poster, however, in this poster Stalin does not merely inspire the troops from the sky, as he does in many other posters of this time.

 

Detail of 1944 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Babitskii

Stalin is a military genius on the battlefield

 

Stalin is depicted here as rushing forward into battle. In his hands he carries a large map, the red territories showing the ground held by Soviet forces. Thus Stalin is shown as a man of action and as an active participant in the battle – Stalin the military strategist!

It is only in 1944, when victory in the war is almost assured, that Stalin becomes directly associated in propaganda with the actual military leadership of the war.

Prior to this, he has been portrayed as the leader of the nation, a father, a teacher, a friend, and merely an inspiration to the troops on the ground.

 

Detail of 1944 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Babitskii

Fireworks, which could almost be mistaken for bombs, and searchlights presage victory celebrations

 

In the background, behind the Kremlin, is a little fireworks display – subtle and colourless as yet, but a precursor to what is yet to come.

The caption of the poster makes it clear that Stalin is responsible for this latest positive turn of events –

Under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, forward – to the definitive crushing of our enemy!

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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website can be found at www.anitapisch.com

 

stalin poster of the week 60: s. podobedov, comrade i.v. stalin at the front in the civil war, 1939

Poster of Stalin as a civil war hero by S. Podobedov, 1939

S. Podobedov (Подобедов, С.), Comrade I.V. Stalin at the front in the Civil War (товарищ и. в. сталин на фронтах гражданской войны), 1939

 

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.

S. Podobedov’s 1939 poster ‘Comrade I.V. Stalin at the Front in the Civil War’ was published just as Europe entered the Second World War and the USSR was trying desperately to delay its own (inevitable) involvement in the conflict.

The poster image consists of a vast map of Soviet territories with the locations at which Stalin served in the Civil War (1918-1921) marked with a red star. Stalin was being promoted as a notable Bolshevik leader who was key to victory in this earlier conflict.

 

Detail of 1939 poster of Stalin by S. Podobedov

This map documents Stalin’s vital contribution to Bolshevik victory in the Civil War of 1918 to 1921

 

Beneath each star are the dates of Stalin’s Civil War service and dashed lines mark out the route between locations. Filled red stars indicate the main places on the Front at which Stalin stayed, while the unfilled stars show his field trips.

The use of a map with lines, labels, dates and a key makes this content appear as documentary evidence that Stalin was heavily involved in the Bolshevik military victory in the Civil War.

The bottom of the poster contains a quotation from Kliment Voroshilov, Marshall of the Soviet Union, that confirms the centrality of Stalin to the Bolshevik cause, whilst also offering a plausible explanation for Stalin’s apparent low profile during the Civil War years — Stalin was entrusted with the most terrible, dangerous missions and would suddenly appear in the direst circumstances to ensure victory for the Red Army:

In the period of 1918–1920 Stalin was probably the only person the Central Committee sent from one battlefront to another, choosing the most dangerous, the most terrible places of a revolution. Where it had been relatively peaceful and prosperous, where we had success — there Stalin was not visible. But where, for a number of reasons the Red Army was broken, where the counter-revolutionary forces were becoming successful and threatened the very existence of the Soviet regime, where confusion and panic could at any moment turn into helplessness and catastrophe — there Stalin appeared. He did not sleep nights, he organised, the leadership was lying in his steady hands, he broke the enemy and was ruthless — creating a turning point, a healing environment.

K.E. Voroshilov

 

 

Detail of 1939 poster of Stalin by S. Podobedov

In this golden medallion, Stalin is presented as if he were a caesar or sacred figure in an icon

 

The golden cameo portrait of Stalin suggests a medallion or coin, with Stalin’s head reminiscent of the heads of monarchs or caesars on coins and of sacred figures in icons.

The map is framed in sacred colours associated with the icon — red and gold — and illustrates the mythic and sacred history of the Bolshevik Party.

Voroshilov’s statement allows Stalin to preserve his modesty and also contains many of the elements of the developing Stalin myth — a sense of almost magical omnipresence and the ability to appear out of nowhere whenever needed; the leader who doesn’t sleep at night; and the strong but caring leader who is ruthless with his enemies.

 

Detail of 1939 poster of Stalin by S. Podobedov

Stalin was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for his combat role as Generalissimus of the USSR

 

The map is stamped on the top right corner with a picture of the Order of the Red Banner, signifying Stalin’s courage.

Stalin and the Party leadership may well have envisaged themselves as warriors in the battle for socialism, not only using battle metaphors from the time of the Revolution throughout the life of the regime, but also referring to themselves and each other in quasi-military terms.

In conversation with Lavrentii Beria, Stalin referred to the Bolsheviks as ‘a sort of military-religious order’,* and, in a 1921 draft article, ‘On the political strategy and tactic of the Russian communists’, he wrote of: ‘The communist party as a kind of order of swordbearers** within the Soviet state, directing the organs of the latter and inspiring its activity.’***

When Feliks Dzerzhinskii, head of the Cheka, died in July 1926, Stalin referred to him as ‘a devout knight of the proletariat’.****

In fact, Stalin himself came to be endowed with the qualities of the bogatyr, the mythical Russian knight–hero, along with the other Old Bolskeviks in the top Party leadership, and this term was also applied to ‘everyday heroes’ like the Stakhanovites.

Battle metaphors saturated Bolshevik vocabulary, beginning with the central Marxist concept of ‘class war’. In propaganda, each campaign involved a ‘struggle’ and a ‘front’ (e.g. the ‘construction front’), and art and cultural production in general were viewed as ‘a weapon’. ‘Enemies’ were potentially everywhere.

*Simon Montefiore, Stalin, p. 88.

** Orden mechenostsev. The ‘order of swordbearers’ (the Schwertbrtider) was an order of crusading monks founded in 1202 by Albert, bishop of Livonia, in which the brothers took the three-fold monk’s vow of poverty, chastity, and ‘to deny themselves to have a will of their own’

*** Iosif Stalin, Sochineniia, 5, p. 71 in ‘Stalin’s organic theory of the Party’, Russian Review, 52:1, 1993, pp. 43–57, p. 45.

****Simon Montefiore, Stalin, p. 88.

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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website can be found at www.anitapisch.com

 

stalin poster of the week 59: n. petrov and konstantin ivanov, glory to great stalin, the architect of communism!, 1952

1952 poster of Stalin by Petrov and Ivanov

N. Petrov and Konstantin Ivanov (Петров, Н. и Иванов, К.), Glory to great Stalin, the architect of Communism! (Слава великому Сталину – зодчему коммунизма!), 1952

 

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 poster by N. Petrov and Konstantin Ivanov was published in 1952 and carries the same slogan as the 1951 poster by Boris Belopol’skii on the same theme.

 

1951 poster of Stalin as the architect of communism by Belopol'skii

Boris Belopol’skii (Белопольский, Б), Glory to Stalin, the great architect of communism! (слава сталину – великому зодчему коммунизму!), 1951

 

Unlike the earlier poster, which was in full colour and employed a graphic portrait of Stalin in front of a huge hydroelectric station, this 1952 poster uses black-and-white photography as a means of documentary evidence of the progress of Soviet society.

Stalin is superimposed in front of a view of Moscow and is looking up the Volga River. The city appears to be bustling with pedestrians, cars and river traffic, and is bathed in a white light which also shines on Stalin from above.

 

Detail of 1952 poster of Stalin as the architect of communism by Petrov and Ivanov

Moscow is a thriving metropolis, full of movement and impressive buildings

 

Stalin looks out of the picture, this time to the viewer’s left, which is usually associated with the past, and suggests that Stalin is surveying what has already been achieved.

The poster plays on the two levels of meaning of the architect symbol. Stalin is literally shown as responsible for the planning and rebuilding of Moscow, which commenced in 1935, but he is also responsible for planning and building the new communist society.

 

Detail of 1952 poster of Stalin as the architect of communism by Petrov and Ivanov

Just one year before his death, Stalin smiles as he surveys all he has accomplished

 

As Robert Tucker notes:

It was [Stalin’s] role as Supreme Architect of Communism to discover the laws, and it was the business of Soviet society to study them and put them into effect, and thus to “attain mastery” over them.*

Moscow was seen as a symbol for the whole federation, her transformation a metaphor for the moral and political transformation of the whole of Soviet society.

Katerina Clark points out that, although only parts of Moscow were rebuilt, Moscow was usually represented as being totally rebuilt, and photographs of models were often presented to the public (as in the case of the Palace of Soviets) as if the new buildings already existed.**

Moscow was also represented — in Stalin’s ‘Greetings on her 800th anniversary’ in 1947, for example — as a sort of symbolic saviour of the West, having liberated the West from the Tartar yoke, repulsed the Polish–Lithuanian invasion in the Time of Troubles, repelled Napoleon in 1812, and won the Great Patriotic War against the fascists.

*Robert C. Tucker, ‘Stalin and the Uses of Psychology,’ World Politics, Vol.8, No.4, 1956, pp. 455-83, p. 461.

**Katerina Clark, ‘Eisenstein’s Two Projects for a Film about Moscow,’ The Modern Language Review, Vol. 101, No. 1, Jan., 2006, pp. 184-200, p. 186.

 

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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website is www.anitapisch.com

stalin poster of the week 58: veniamin pinchuk, the spirit of the great lenin and his invincible banner inspire us now in the patriotic war… (i. stalin), 1943

1943 war poster of Stalin and Lenin by Veniamin Pinchuk

Veniamin Pinchuk (Пинчук, В.Б.), The spirit of the great Lenin and his invincible banner inspire us now in the patriotic war… (I. Stalin) (дух великого Ленина и его победоносное знамя вдохновляют нас теперь на отечественную войну…), 1943

 

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.

The guiding and protecting spirit of Lenin is invoked in a 1943 poster by renowned sculptor and portraitist Veniamin Pinchuk, which visually references the 1942 poster by Vladimir Serov discussed last week. The differences between the two posters are minor but significant.

An image of Stalin from the chest up is placed before a chalky red banner. His right arm is outstretched and his hand palm down in a gesture of benediction. Over his right shoulder is the ghostly head of Lenin.

In these details, the 1943 Pinchuk poster closely resembles the top half of the 1942 Serov poster. However, in the 1943 poster, the entire bottom section of the poster – that unconventional section that shows the brutal slaying of the German enemy – has been removed.

 

Detail of 1943 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Pinchuk

Lenin is unstoppable

 

In addition, there are subtle differences in the portraits of Lenin and Stalin used by Pinchuk. The Lenin of the Serov poster looks out to the left at eye level, his face serious, but composed. In the Pinchuk poster, Lenin’s narrowed eyes and head are tilted up, and his mouth set with a grim, almost angry look.

And while Stalin is wearing the same clothes in both posters, and making the same gesture with his right arm, in the 1943 poster he turns to face the viewer, looking directly out of the poster and into the viewer’s eyes.

Both posters show Stalin from the chest up, however in the 1942 poster his lower body has been dissolved in a bank of battle smoke, while in the 1943 poster Stalin’s body is solid to the edge of the image.

 

Detail of 1943 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Pinchuk

Stalin, with some small war victories in hand, can finally meet the viewer’s eye

 

This Stalin is not floating in the sky like a disembodied spirit, but has been brought back to ground to lead his troops to victory. By 1943, there were already some small signs that the USSR’s fortunes in war were turning around after the disasters of 1942.

On 2 February 1943, the Germans troops at Stalingrad surrendered. Although the war was far from won, there was finally some good news to spread to the populace and, in 1943, Stalin’s image began to be cautiously associated with victory.

Anita Pischs 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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website is www.anitapisch.com

stalin poster of the week 57: vladimir serov, under the banner of lenin – forward to victory!, 1942

1942 poster of Stalin and Lenin during the war

Vladimir Serov (Серов, В.), Under the banner of Lenin – forward to victory! (под знаменем ленина – вперед, к победе!), 1942

 

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.

A 1942 poster by Vladimir Aleksandrovich Serov shows the spirit of Lenin from beyond the grave guiding the spirit of Stalin, both overlooking the battlefield during the disastrous early days of the Great Patriotic War.

Almost the entire top half of the poster is filled by a huge red banner infused with the ghostly head of Lenin looking calmly into the distance. Lenin’s sacred head emits a white light that illuminates the right arm and face of Stalin below him.

 

Detail of 1942 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Vladimir Serov

Lenin and Stalin are steely and determined, guiding the soldiers below by the force of their will.

 

Stalin also does not look at the action below, but straight ahead and far out of the picture plane. He is grim and determined. His right arm is raised and outstretched, but his fingers are spread and his palm turned down, a gesture of blessing and benediction over the field of action below him.

Just as Stalin blesses his troops and their actions, Lenin sits on Stalin’s right shoulder to bless and guide him.

The bottom half of the poster depicts the battlefield in closeup. In the immediate foreground is a trench with barbed wire, and a German soldier being bayoneted by a Russian. The German has lost his gun and sprawls helpless on the ground, a dead comrade arched over barbed wire next to him.

 

Detail of 1942 poster of Stalin and Lenin by Vladimir Serov

The battle is brutal. Red Army soldiers rush forth and bayonet helpless German soldiers

 

The Russian with the bayonet steps over the body of another dead German soldier and, next to him, a comrade prepares to throw a grenade, while a poised bayonet gleams in the hands of a soldier behind him. A tank rumbles through in the background.

The red text is simple and direct:

Under the banner of Lenin, forward, to victory!

The imagery in this poster is unusual in that it is not often that Stalin appears in a poster with enemies (whether internal or external to the regime), and one of the few instances in which he is seen alongside any kind of brutality.

The war was cruel and the Soviet people suffered harshly under German occupation. In Volume 5 of his memoirs, Men, Years – Life, Ilia Ehrenburg recalls that the Russian people did not initially have any hatred for the German soldiers:

The men defending Smolensk or Briansk repeated what they had heard first at school and later at political meetings, or read in the newspapers: in Germany the working class was strong, it was a leading industrial country; true, the fascists, supported by the Ruhr magnates and the social-traitors, had seized power, but the German people were in opposition and were carrying on the struggle. ‘Naturally,’ the Red Army men said, ‘the officers are fascists, and of course there must be misguided men among the rank and file, but millions of soldiers advance only because otherwise they’d be shot.’*

Ehrenburg recalls feeling enraged when gunners on the front line refused to shell a highway when commanded to do so. One of the gunners explained to Ehrenburg:

We can’t just shell the road and then retreat. We must let the Germans approach and try to explain to them it’s time for them to come to their senses and rise against Hitler, and that we’ll help them to do it’. The others feelingly supported him. A young and intelligent-looking artillery main said: ‘Who are we shooting? Workers and peasants. They think we’re against them, we don’t leave them any choice’.**

All of the propaganda of the preceding decades which had emphasised the unity of the working classes around the world, and their shared goals and interests, had been largely successful, and some of the Russian soldiers saw this confrontation as an opportunity to reach out to the working classes of other less fortunate nations.

However, atrocities committed on Russian soil, a series of punishing defeats, and a propaganda campaign featuring highly emotive images that highlighted the risk to women and children under German occupation turned this pacifist attitude on its head, and troops were encouraged to fight savagely in order to win the war.

*Ilya Ehrenburg. Men, Years – Life, Transl. by Tatiana Shebunina and Yvonne Kapp, London, MacGibbon and Kee, p. 26.

** Ilya Ehrenburg. Men, Years – Life, Transl. by Tatiana Shebunina and Yvonne Kapp, London, MacGibbon and Kee, pp. 27-8.

 

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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website is www.anitapisch.com

stalin poster of the week 56: f. litvinov, raise the banner of lenin-stalin – the banner of our great victory!, 1949

Crimean Poster of worker/war hero with Lenin-Stalin banner by Litvinov, 1949

F. Litvinov (Литвинов, В.), Raise the banner of Lenin-Stalin – the banner of our great victory! (выше знамя Ленина-Сталина – знамя великих побед!), 1949

 

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 poster by F. Litvinov was published by the Crimean publishing house, Krymizdat, in 1949, four years after the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War (Second World War).

At this stage, the Crimea was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. It was only in 1954, a year after Stalin’s death, that  the Crimean oblast was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR.

The poster grants credit for the war victory to the protective banner of Lenin and Stalin, who form the hyphenated identity of Lenin-Stalin, with Stalin now portrayed as a joint leader of the 1917 October Revolution.

 

1949 Crimean poster of Lenin and Stalin by F. Litvinov

This Crimean war hero acknowledges the inspirational role of the banner of Lenin-Stalin in the Soviet victory

 

A young man in civilian clothing, wearing the Order of the Patriotic War medal (awarded to all soldiers in the Soviet Armed Forces, security troops and partisans who participated in the Great Patriotic War) waves a huge banner that ripples like the winds of inspiration through the sky over a crowd of people stretching back to the horizon.

The young man, in greyscale except for his military decorations, is symbolic of the Soviet people as a whole, also in greyscale. The text of the poster reads

Raise the banner of Lenin-Stalin – the banner of our great victory!

 

1949 Crimean poster of Lenin and Stalin by F. Litvinov

Lenin, man of words, and Stalin, man of deeds, are illuminated by divine white light as they look back on a glorious military past.

 

Merged into the fabric of the banner are the profile heads of Lenin and Stalin, Lenin in shirt and tie, Stalin with military collar. Both are illuminated by a divine white light and all three figures in the poster look out to the viewer’s left.

The focus of this poster is firmly on the glorious military past.

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.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website is www.anitapisch.com

stalin poster of the week 55: iraklii toidze, long live the v.k.p.(b) – the party of lenin-stalin, inspirer and organiser of our great victories!, 1946

1946 poster of Stalin, Lenin and the Rodina by Iraklii Toidze

Iraklii Toidze (Тоидзе, И.), Long live the V.K.P.(b) – the party of Lenin-Stalin, inspirer and organiser of our great victories! (Да здравствует В.К.П.(б) – партия Ленина-Сталина, вдохновитель и организатор наших великих побед!, 1946

 

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 1946 poster by Georgian-born Iraklii Toidze, produced the year after the end of the Great Patriotic War, credits the hyphenated Lenin-Stalin Party with the war victory.

Stalin’s victory in the war has made him worthy of co-identity with the great founding figure of Lenin, and Stalin takes equal place beside Lenin both visually and in the poster text. In fact, visually, Lenin is behind Stalin.

The poster is laden with sacred overtones.

 

Detail of 1946 poster of Stalin, Lenin and the Rodina by Iraklii Toidze

The image of a strong but caring Motherland, the Rodina probably derives from the old Slavic goddess Mokosh

 

It is dominated by the figure of the Rodina, wielding a huge banner with the cameo images of Lenin and Stalin in profile enclosed in a gold medallion, and a bunch of flowers — symbol of fertility, abundance and celebration.

The Rodina is the embodiment of the Russian motherland, now expanded to include all the territories of the USSR. The Rodina probably derives from the old Slavic goddess Mokosh, who was the protective goddess of women, childbirth, weaving, spinning and sheep.

The Rodina in the poster is serene and maternal with an ample bosom and wide hips. She is also like the Virgin in the icon, her banner serving the same protective function as the Virgin’s veil, whilst also reconfiguring her as the mother of the revolutionary Bolshevik Party.

Behind the Rodina, the background consists purely of rays of light and the colour scheme, rich reds and golds, is reminiscent of the icon.

Detail of 1946 poster of Stalin, Lenin and the Rodina by Iraklii Toidze

Lenin sits behind Stalin in a gold medallion that is both sacred and reminiscent of a war medal

 

The text at the base of the poster reads ‘Long live the V.K.P.(b) — the party of Lenin– Stalin, inspirer and organiser of our great victories!’

Anita Pischs 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

stalin poster of the week 54: p. lukhtein, glory to great stalin!, 1951

1951 Estonian poster of Stalin

P. Lukhtein (П. Лухтейн), Glory to great Stalin! (слава великому сталин!), 1951

 

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.

In the very last few years of Stalin’s life, his image was treated like an icon less frequently than in the immediate postwar years, except in posters published in some of the constituent republics.

Estonian Izdatelstvo published a poster by Lukhtein, which would have been commonplace  in Moscow and Leningrad just a few years hence, but which now contrasts sharply in style with the contemporaneous posters from Russia.

 

Detail of 1951 Estonian poster of Stalin

A military portrait of Stalin portrays him as a strong visionary leader

 

A black-and-white portrait of Stalin in Marshal’s uniform is enclosed in an oval mandorla on a red field that is bordered by an elaborate folk motif of stylised crops and the Soviet state emblem at the top. Underneath Stalin’s portrait, in huge gold letters, is written ‘Glory to great Stalin!’

Estonia was one of the Baltic States reabsorbed into the USSR after the Great Patriotic War, as part of the carving up of Europe between the Allies. Much work was needed to sell the cult of Stalin to the largely unwilling population.

 

Detail of 1951 Estonian poster of Stalin

Golden letters on a rich red background proclaim Stalin’s glory to the Estonian people. The addition of a border of decorative folk motifs provides local flavour.

 

The continuation of production of this type of poster in the Baltic states and some of the other outlying republics of the USSR, when it had virtually been discontinued in posters produced in Moscow and Leningrad, suggests that the propagandists may have felt that the work of building a personality cult for Stalin was largely completed in the central regions.

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

stalin poster of the week 53: unknown artist, printing should grow by leaps and bounds, this is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party. stalin., 1950

1950 Uzbek poster of Stalin

Unknown artist, Printing should grow by leaps and bounds, this is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party. Stalin., 1950

 

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.

 

Detail of 1950 Uzbek poster of Stalin

Stalin in military collar, and Lenin in suit and tie look to the viewer’s right (representing the future) on the cover of the newspaper Eastern Pravda.

 

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.

 

Detail of 1950 Uzbek poster of Stalin

Stalin is portrayed as a profound military strategist on the cover of Red Uzbekistan

 

The greying gentleman on his left reads Red Uzbekistan with a visionary Stalin in military uniform on the cover.

 

Detail of 1950 Uzbek poster of Stalin

An Uzbek couple discuss the news in Young Leninist

 

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.

 

Detail of 1950 Uzbek poster of Stalin

There are Uzbek newspapers for young people too!

 

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