Capitalists of the World, Unite!
Victor Deni, 1919
According to the red text at the bottom of this famous anti-Capitalist poster – also by Viktor Deni – “Anyone who tears down this poster or covers it up is performing a counter-revolutionary act.”
Every Woman Should Know How to Raise a Child Properly
Alexei Komarov, 1925
Contrasted here are two different ways of rearing children: the left column follows the life of a child raised in poor conditions, while the column on the right demonstrates the proper way. Although serfdom had been abolished by Tsar Alexander II in 1861, Russia in 1925 still boasted a largely rural – and relatively uneducated – population of “muzhiks”, or peasants. A large part of Soviet propaganda was therefore devoted to educational initiatives, especially in the crucial area of healthcare. The revolutionary babies at the bottom of the right column are testament to the advantages of modern medicine.
Tatar Women! Join the Ranks…
Artist Unknown, 1920s
“… Arm-in-Arm with the Proletarian Women of Russia, You will Finally Break off the Last Shackles.”
The ethnic groups whose home lay on the periphery of Russia, such as the famous Cossacks, had always played a large part in its military defense. Tatarstan actually lies quite close to the cultural heart of Russia, but managed to retain for centuries its own Islamic culture and Turkic language.
This poster, which features Tartar script as well as Russian, encourages Tartar women to abandon the “shackles” of tradition in favour of the factories and furnaces of modernity. Part of the Soviet drive to assimilate the Tartars involved discouraging the traditionally subservient role of women. Gender equality thrived in many aspects of Soviet life (though women were notably absent from high state politics.)
Get a Tractor!
Artist Unknown, c. 1930
“The Machine-tractor Station is the Linchpin of Collectivisation. Get a Tractor! Let’s Double and Triple the MTS.”
Machine-Tractor Stations (MTS) were part of Stalin’s efforts to collectivise farms across Russia. Rich peasants – who by the sweat on their brows had accumulated more land than was acceptable – were attacked by Communist policy and propaganda alike, as friends of the capitalists and enemies of true peasants.
Note the dutiful workers reading a newspaper together during their break: self-taught literacy was often encouraged in this manner, especially among the labouring class. Of course, literacy didn’t necessarily entail freedom for the workers to read whatever they liked.
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