Propaganda Posters of Soviet Era

Road to Hell is paved with good intentions

Here is a collection of propaganda posters from the Soviet era. I had included translation of slogans together with brief commentaries.

Communists who engineered October revolution and set wheels in motion in 1917 were not evil creatures from Mars. Quite on contrary, they were people like you and me who tried to better this world towards social justice for all. Communism aims to better life for every one, towards a common good. This was the idealistic appeal that brought so many on board. In reality, the vigorous drive toward the Utopia took no compromises and without compassion cut corners in civil liberties and human rights. When decisions of few "good guys," who "knew what's the best," became more valuable than public consensus the "common good" become an excuse of "uncorruptable" leadership towards their own goals and ambitions.

Soviet propaganda is not only a monument to the science of mass-deception. It's also a text book, full of examples re-occurring everywhere where mass-involvement is needed and where particular view is encouraged. You may see examples in TV commercials, political speeches and CEO's "wise" words. Communist posters are no more than excersises for Marketing 101 or a good course in Rhetoric.

Posters are designed to burn a particular image that after a while would be accepted as unquestionable truth. That's why companies who " ... Bring Good Things To Life" separate their manufacturing of high powered canons. And this is why Craft don't stamp their logo with cute babies on Camels and other cigarette brands they own.

I hope to promote individual thought and resiliense against clever persuasion. Hopefully this perspective on Soviet world could foster a critical opinion on the world of your own. While these Soviet posters seems silly and ridiculous to a citizen of a free country, remember that the deceived millions considered themselves as freer than you.

We'll execute the plan of the great works.

This probably means the goal (planned) by the works of Marx, Lenin etc.
"Thousands" of hands are raised voting "yes." The theme is about conformity, that defines what others are doing and forcing an individual to question their position. Aren't you going to execute the plan of GREAT works?

Be on guard.

Be paranoid about "Enemies of the People", "Sabboteurs" and other evil elements trying to sabotage happiness in the Soviet paradise. It's a good cover for future cases of indiscriminant persecution. Party had warned you, now if you see someone being arrested you would know why.

Glory to World-Wide October

October - Communist revolution that took place in October and thus the word is synonymous with revolution. World-Wide - those are the goals.

Briskly, full speed ahead. Complete 5 year commitments in 4 years.

5 year commitments were "voluntary obligations" for production. Is it me or this is remarkably similar to "Achieve and over-achieve numbers for customer expectations!" at some workplaces? Just about everyone knows that numbers are bullshit and what really matters is not how the customer feels or the quality of work, but "numbers" that look good on quarterly report.

5 year plan

Red book is titled "5 year plan" while evil capitalist says: "Fantasy, nonsense, utopia" Below factories fly banners: "Industrialization, Collectivization of Farms"

Ballot box announces: "For the Motherland, for Stalin, for World Peace, for Communism."

Darn, how could you not vote that! I mean you love your motherland and you agree about world peace with Miss Universe, Stalin and Communism are just synonims.

We'll give for the building of Socialism in 1931 ... 8 million ton of raw iron

In the wording ("we'll give") there is no room for error as far as what WE are doing. The question is are you one of us and are you slacking off while your comrades work so hard?

Comrades lumberjacks, let's keep our word given to comrade Stalin! Tree says: "Giving beyond expected."

Well now, we can't break the word ... not to comrade Stalin. Although, "someone else" gave the word you are not going to go against a worthy cause, especially when "everyone else" is doing it.

Smug looking dude holds a banner declaring: "Soviet Union (CCCP) is the first brigade of proletariat or the entire world." Along the lines of the banner smaller message declares: "Proletariat of all countries, defend your socialist motherland."

Brigade is a working unit and this message squarely puts the responsibility of leadership by example on the shoulders of soviet people. In militarist style, it also links exemplary labour effort to the "defense" of your motherland. Defense implies dark imperialist forces waiting when you loose your guard so they could build a Walmart in your neighborhood. Note the faces of "other nations" looking up with glee towards their salvation.

Young builders of Communism, go forth toward the new heights (achievements) in education and labour.

These two Aryan looking kids display brass medallions of Communist Youth Union on their chests. The books up front reveals "Lenin, Stalin" as their authors. Also their heads may be seen on the background.

[We'll] raise a generation, selflessly loyal to Communism.

Holy trinity of Communist up bringing: son Soviet Pioneer, daughter Communist Youth, father Communist party. Large letters in the right, upper corner is the old abbreviation for Communist Party. Father figure (with medals on his chest) is the role model. Daughter with masculine shoulders and over developed chest is model candidate. Note clean facial features and straight noses.

Everyone [go to] votes for deputy and worker representatives. Girl's poster reads: "Vote for candidates of communist block and no-party member"

What's a point of encouraging to vote? Impressing individuals that 10 mil. of other voters made the same [right] choice. The theme again is conformity through realization that everyone else is a part of the group and thus non-conformity implies being isolated. Note that Girl's poster implies that there are no other parties (republicans etc.) besides the Party.

Every day life is getting better

Repeat after me: "I'm happy ...." Note the medal. Obviously, distinguishing yourself will carry measure of happiness. If the lady with a medal happy and you are not, do you have a medal to be like her? Perhaps, not enough effort in building communist society is the cause of your crappy mood.

GPU (one of the early KGB names) strikes evil looking green guy with Hitler's mustache, Dracula's fangs claws, Goblin's ears and Capitalist spectacles. Green guy is labeled as: "Contra-revolutionist, evil-doer"

Unlike good-looking communist youth, evil-doers are pretty ugly. Thus if you are evil-doer, then we don't like you and if we don't like you you must be an evil-doer. Makes sense?

Poster of Stalin with Red flag labeled (VKPB - communist party) on the background. Poster is titled "Josef Vissarionovich Stalin" - Stalin's full name. This format is used as show of respect and greatness.

Stalin is holding PRAVDA (The Truth) - main communist newspaper. Hint: did you read one lately? ... 'cause the chief is reading it? Military uniform with Hero of the Soviet Union medal signifies accomplishment, warrior qualities and commands respect. Stalin is looking towards the light, far ahead and a bit up (beyond the horizon.) Stalin's facial expression with Mona Lisa smile and slightly raised eyebrows foretell the great things to come.

Study the great Party's Way of Lenin and Stalin.

Young comrade is looking up beyond the mural where Lenin is "laying his hand" over the crowd of excited people. Stalin is right behind Lenin with his hand in the coat Napoleon style. On the table a red pencil (that was before high lighters) suggests in depth analysis of the ways of the "immortals."

Glory to the worker-peasant Red Army - guardian of Soviet borders

The army is worker-peasant, that includes all the "oppressed" classes minus evil-doers, capitalist and old, green guys. The show of force is impressive and awe inspiring. Note that judging by the size of the tank commander sticking out of the turret the tank is at least 4-5 stories tall. Stalin, dominates the landscape with Godzilla-God like stanza. Note that the marshal to his right is slightly shorter and his body language (chest towards Stalin, radical neck angle) expresses sumbisiveness and awe toward Stalin. Although, Stalin himself is non-threatening without his uniform and medals, marshal's stance and medals suggest Stalin's even greater authority.

Our response to Chamberlain

I hope he did not asked them for matches ; ) On the background a soldier is supported by a stereotypical silhouette of a factory worker and a peasant. Below, is the mass of people marching in rows representing strength in numbers and unity of people. Lord Chamberlain looks pathetic with an expression of surprise and fear. Note the stereotypical capitalist's monocular and tuxedo. His white gloves are covered in blood.

Cut down your enemy with prejudice

I'm not sure what's the story of this poster. Basically, it looks like a civil war poster with the "enemy" in typical white or german infantry man's coat and ruksak. Note the double line of buttons. With the cavalry's man attire, it's consistent for that time period. However, falling from the enemy's head is a german helmet, more consistent with WWII period and on the front of it is out-perspective drawn swastika.
What's a big deal? Well, enemy changes, but who ever they are at this point, they all have the same attributes: they are evil, face less bastards, not worth of pity or understanding.

Komsomoltsi [members of Communist Youth Union], let's pass military exams with excellent grades

... our cannons need more fodder.

Glory to the mighty air force of the country of the Socialism

Yet, another awe inspiring show of force and mass. A good vehicle to promote confidence, self-righteousness and feel good about being part of the good guys' crowd.

Without pity, we'll decimate and obliterate the enemy.

Hitler displays striking resemblance to some sort of nocturnal goblin as he rips through the piece of paper titled "Non-aggression pact between Germany and Soviet Union" Note that the pact is black, so is Hitler, so is word "enemy." The red army dude is pretty ticked off. Being bigger and armed the task seems just as easy as nailing a rodent to a floor.