Since the birth of the USSR, Soviet propaganda posters played a huge part in controlling the country and relaying the party’s messages to the people in a non-discreet way. At YPT, we’re big fans of the aesthetic of propaganda posters wherever they’re from. Recently, on one of our tours to Moldova, we picked up a load of Soviet propaganda posters for our European office in Varna.
Most of us are familiar with Dmitry Moor’s famous poster “Have You Enlisted In the Army?” The image of a Red Army soldier with plumes of black smoke rising from the factory smokestacks in the background, bluntly questioning the Russian worker about his contribution to the defence of the October Revolution, became the iconic piece of Soviet propaganda.
Posters took on a very important role during the October Revolution and subsequent Civil War. Very few newspapers were published in those days and often a poster replaced the tabloid. Poster art was widely accessible to the masses, the images it depicted was easily understood by everyone, and a short and energetic accompanying slogan stuck in the viewer’s mind, as a constant call for action. In the Russian Civil War, propaganda posters were sent to the front lines in the same capacity as bullets and artillery shells. They were posted on walls, in cities that were under assault by the White Guard armies and foreign interventionists.
The bottom of the vivid, bright-colored poster usually contained a warning: “Anyone who tears down or covers up this poster – is committing a counter-revolutionary act.” The poster was a powerful weapon, and just like any weapon, it had to be guarded with utmost care.
From the Russian Civil War to Perestroika, Soviet propaganda posters have always kept pace with the times. They created images of role models for generations of Soviet workers and soldiers, promoted health and fitness, and celebrated the victory over Fascism in WW2.
In today’s article, we’re going to give you the lowdown on our personal top 5 favorite Soviet propaganda posters.