Soviet Posters

With the Russian Revolution of 1917, for the first time in history an entire nation is governed by a communist system. The posters from the first years of this government show revolutionary zeal and optimism of building a new society. Campaigns are waged to eliminate illiteracy and improve health care. Other posters attack the opponents of Lenin's government: a bloody civil war swept the country until 1920. Progressive artists use the poster as a medium to reach a broad public. As far as style is concerned, they do not have to cope with artistic directives yet.

By 1930, Stalin is in full control. Propaganda focuses on political discipline and the Five Year Plans, ambitious programs for the collectivization of agriculture and establishment of heavy industry. The posters give a powerful, dynamic impression, using photomontage, compositions with diagonal lines, and strong contrasts in colours and shapes.

In the 1930s, this Constructivist style falls from grace. Critics claim it is unrealistic, too difficult to comprehend, and too individualistic. Constructivist designers experience great difficulties; only Socialist Realism is approved. Happy, healthy, young workers and determined soldiers are the principal subjects, as well as, of course, the friendly smiling Stalin.

1. D. Moor, Proletarians of all countries, unite!, 1919

2. A general military training is a safeguard for freedom, 1919

3. N. Kochergin, Long live the Red Army, 1920

4. N. Kogout, Your enemies want to send you to war against me, your brother, 1920

5. V. Deni, Capital, 1919

6. V. Deni, Capital: I will crush Soviet Russia in my fist!!!, 1920

7. I. Nivinskii, Women, adhere to the cooperation, 1917

8. What the October Revolution has given to working and peasant women, 1920

9. Literacy is the path to communism, 1920

10. A. Radakov, The life of the illiterate - The life of the literate, 1920

11. M. Cheremnykh, Why are these people ill?, (Rosta, first part), 1921

12. M. Cheremnykh, Their muscles like jelly?, (Rosta, second part), 1921

13. M. Cheremnykh, You must sweep the floor thoroughly every day, (Rosta, third part), 1921

14. M. Cheremnykh, Don't spit on the floor and don't make a mess, (Rosta, fourth part), 1921

15. S. Mirzoyan, A. Ivanov, Towards the collective, 1929

16. A. Kuznetsova, A. Magitson, Cultivate vegetables!, ca. 1930

17. S. Mirzoyan, A. Ivanov, Help build the gigantic factories, 1929

18. Lyubimov, With shock labour we will ensure prompt delivery of the giants of the Five Year Plan, 1931

19. N. Dolgorukov, Full spead ahead for the fourth and final year of the Five Year Plan!, 1931

20. V. Kulagina, 8 Million tons of pig iron, 1931

21. G. Klutsis, The USSR is the crack brigade of the world proletariat, 1931

22. G. Klutsis, Let's send millions of qualified worker cadres to the 518 new factories and production units, 1931

23. S. Senkin, Under Lenin's banner for the second Five Year Plan!, 1931

24. G. Klutsis, Civilized life - productive work, 1932

25. Brigade KGK, Female delegate, stand to the fore!, 1931

26. N. Dolgorukov, Metropolitan, 1931

27. Ogarkov, Lyubimov, For the society's food supply - bolshevist tempo and high quality, 1931

28. K. Vyalov, Let's consolidate the victory of socialism in the USSR!, 1932

29. G. Brylov, The giants of the Five Year Plan, 1933

30. Dors, We will change the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan into a republic of abundant literacy, 1936

31. Lebeshev, We do like Stachanov!, 1936

32. E. Mirzoev, December 5, 1938

33. Sirocenqo, Long live the great Stalin!, 1938