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Communism is an evil doctrine that has been responsible for the death of millions. Wherever it has been tried, Communism has delivered misery, bread lines, political oppression and religious repression. Children have been indoctrinated to inform on their parents, neighbors to spy on and denounce their neighbors. The classless society has invariably produced a class of privileged apparatchiks exploiting the proletariat even worse than the capitalists they had replaced.

Even though Communist dictatorships may not have been able to produce food or consumer goods, they were good at producing propaganda posters. After all, the ruling politburo was in the business of staying in power, and so while it might not care that the common people had to line up for bread for hours, or that you had to wait years to get a telephone installed, it always made sure that the printing presses churned out a steady supply of propaganda posters.

Here we take a tour through the alternate reality of a prosperous and progressive communist Russia, a utopia on earth, as depicted in these selected posters. In later installments we will include collections of Soviet propaganda posters depicting the country’s success in the Space Race, as well as separate articles on North Korean propaganda which makes the most ham fisted Soviet posters look subtle and intellectual by comparison.


Communiist Propaganda Poster from Georgia USSR. Let's fulfill the plan of delivering bread on time for the Motherland." Georgian SSR 1960s
Let’s fulfill the plan of delivering bread on time for the Motherland.” Georgian SSR 1960s Propaganda Poster

This propaganda poster is from the Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia in the 1960s. It exhorts the Comrades to “fulfill the plan of delivering bread on time for the motherland.” In the foreground a retro-futuristic tractor is hauling bags of grain while in the background workers and machinery harvest the wheat. You know there is something wrong with your economic system when you have to try to motivate your citizenry to put in enough effort so they will have bread.

Soviet Propaganda Poster
Soviet Propaganda Poster from 1989

This Soviet propaganda poster from 1989 features Lenin saying:

“Follow the Laws of the Red Army, Not Out of Fear, But Out of Conscience, and Maintain Discipline in Every Way Possible…,”

Reading between the lines, the poster is obviously trying to address a breakdown of discipline in the Soviet Army, likely arising from the demoralizing losses in Afghanistan and the accelerating collapse of the USSR

Soviet Perestroika Poster, 1987

It seems that Soviet propaganda posters were always exhorting people to work harder, to farm harder, to do more, to obey more, to produce more wheat, more coal, more everything. And yet there was never enough.

Here a propaganda poster asks “Have you started working in the new way?” which is to say diligently and with the goal of achieving actual results, rather than just doing enough to avoid punishment.

The wife and children are asking tearfully, stop before it’s too late!” Soviet anti-alcohol poster, 1987

This poster was part of Gorbachev’s campaign against alcoholism which was then as now a huge problem. Rationing and rising prices on alcohol helped make Gorbachev very unpopular.

East German Communist Propaganda

“The propaganda of communism possesses a language which every people can understand. Its elements are simply hunger, envy, death.”

— Heinrich Heine

waitmanb
If it’s a culture war, let’s have some propaganda posters! https://t.co/su5bCaPXxZ

Life in Soviet Paradise versus the Capitalist West
Life in Soviet Paradise versus the Capitalist West

We close our look at Soviet propaganda posters with this very heavy handed and unsubtle poster from the 1920s. It is written in Uzbeck and Arabic and aims to educate these ethnic groups about the wonders and benefits of Communism. On the left are the happy prosperous Commies, singing and dancing with joy. On the left are the oppressed people of the Capitalist system.

illustrob

illustrob

I am the main archivist and collector of vintage photographs that you see on this site. It is my pleasure to explore the old days with you and bring the past back to life through the photos and images of the 1800s and 1900s.

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