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Soviet Propaganda. The Bolshevik Era (1917-1921). Lenin emphasized the use of “agitprop”. This was a combination of propaganda and agitation in order to win the support of both the intellectuals and average worker Struggle of Ideology, battle from within

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The bolshevik era 1917 1921 l.jpg
The Bolshevik Era (1917-1921)

  • Lenin emphasized the use of “agitprop”. This was a combination of propaganda and agitation in order to win the support of both the intellectuals and average worker

  • Struggle of Ideology, battle from within

  • Over 3,600 posters were created during this time

  • As The Civil War intensified in 1919, the Bolsheviks set up a new Literary-Publishing Department to coordinate propaganda efforts.

    • Dimitri Moor and Viktor Deni were the main cartoonists of the era.

  • Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA)

    • Stenciled posters that summarized the news.

    • Displayed in shop windows across Moscow.

  • Era ended when Bolsheviks defeated the Whites.


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Cossack - Who are you with, them or us?, 1920

Never buy in a Private Shop - when you can buy in a cooperative,

Universal War Training Education is the Key to Victory. The worker's hand is powerful with a rifle a, c.1919

Rosta Window #216 (No Bureaucracy) - 8 panels, 1921

Only the Red Army can bring peace to your farms and villages. Peasants, join your workers' and peasants’, 1920


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The New Economic Policy (1921-1927)

  • Small farms and businesses flourished, while the State kept control of heavy industry, transport and foreign trade.

  • “Roaring Twenties” of Russia.

  • Mayakovsky and Rodchenko known as "advertising constructors" for State-run businesses. They developed an ‘agitational’ style of advertising in which shrill slogans and aggressive compositions were used with strong diagonals and color

    • became the peacetime equivalent of the revolutionary poster.

  • State poster production was headed by Yakov Ruklevsky

  • Other Famous Artists

    • Stenberg brothers, Georgii and Vladimir

    • Nikolai Prusakov

    • Mikhail Dlugach who created more than 500 posters


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Sailors- Buy in the Cooperatives, 1925

The Horror of Future War, 1924

No Knowledge=No Bread. Knowledge Lies in Books. Books are on the Cooperatives., 1925

Be ready to defend October, 1927


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The First and Second Five Year Plans (1928-1937)

  • First Five Year plan

    • Upon assuming complete control in 1928, Stalin immediately put an end to the New Economic Policy and embarked on a new course to full communism with the Five Year Plan. Intended to turn the USSR rapidly into a powerful industrial nation. Stalin demanded an increase in production and wide scale construction

    • Created strictly controlled propaganda

    • Posters appeared everywhere, in factories, farms and all public spaces, in vast quantities and variety

    • Messages of Propaganda: ": fulfill the plan, exceed quotas, defend the USSR”

      • Master of this message was Gustav Klutsis

      • Used mostly red and black All designed to stress the monumental and heroic aspect of the age.

      • His propaganda attacked the enemies of the State both within and without, always portraying the Soviet Union as the victor of peace and social justice

  • Second Five Year Plan

    • Beginning in 1934, Stalin embarked on a thorough purge of the Party, then the army. Anyone remotely suspected of opposition or even lack of enthusiasm was exiled to the camps or shot

    • Purges claimed the lives of many artists even Gustav Klutsis

    • Literature, art and posters of this period overwhelmingly stressed the role of the infallible Leader, Joseph Stalin.

    • Terror, drove out originality and spontaneity in not only propaganda, but in art until the death of Stalin in 1953


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Greeting to those who have joined the work at the world-wide giant Dneprostroi DGES (Dnieper Hydroelectirc Dam), 1932

A Country should know its Heroes, c.1930

The Komsomol Fleet greets the great Stalin!, 1939

Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, 1936


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The Great Patriotic War (1939 - 1945) giant Dneprostroi DGES (Dnieper Hydroelectirc Dam), 1932

  • The forces unleashed in the crisis of the Civil War were rekindled, and Soviet artists rose to the challenge.

  • The themes of Soviet propaganda shifted dramatically as the threat of the Nazis grew. Patriotic themes began to overshadow communism and class struggle.

  • Speeches and posters were populated by references to great pre-Soviet heroes.

  • Two most famous phrases, both by Moor.

    • “How have you helped the Front”

    • “Have you enrolled as a volunteer”.


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Liberate them!, 1942 giant Dneprostroi DGES (Dnieper Hydroelectirc Dam), 1932

Liberate!, 1942

How have you Helped the Front?, 1941

A blow to the enemy. There will be a celebration even on our street., 1944

Let's give a hand of brotherly help to the inhabitants of villages and towns freed from the fascists, 1942


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The Cold War (1946 - 1984) giant Dneprostroi DGES (Dnieper Hydroelectirc Dam), 1932

  • Return of “Social Realism” and other Utopian Views

  • Up until his death in 1953, posters focused on the glory of Stalin

  • The middle years of the Cold War depicted the Vietnam War and the great strides taken in the Space Race

  • Denounced the aims and goals of Capitalism, viewed as the main threat of communism

  • Denounced religion as a threat to the communist ideals

    • 12,000 churches closed by Krushchev in 1959


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Under Lenin's banner, with Stalin's leadership - ahead toward Communism, 1948

Religious rites - Young and old, Tear these strings!, c. 1966

The Republic of the Free - The Hammer & Sickle forever forge the shield, 1966

Pledge to the Motherland and Communist Ideas, 1978

Stop U.S. Agression in Vietnam, 1974


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