Aesthetic Exploration: Soviet Propaganda

Propaganda designed to sway the public opinion has been produced and distributed by many organizations, usually nations, for centuries. Soviet propaganda existed for many reasons; to bolster ideologies, to evoke emotions such as national pride or hateful thoughts of the enemy, and others. Propaganda posters generally don’t extra frills, as conveying a message is their primary purpose and artistic merit is secondary.

The featured image is a 1920 poster by Alexander Zelensky and reads “To have more, we must produce more. To produce more, we must know more.” It supports the idea of a community working together and encourages learning. It exhibits block-type Cyrillic print and simple, yet meaningful objects, such as the sickle, book, and grain.

This 1920 poster by Viktor Deni reads “Comrade Lenin cleans the Earth from impurities.” It denounces capitalism and monarchies in favor of Marxist/communist ways. This poster is similar to a newspaper political comic in that a political message is portrayed in a non-literal way.

“To Fly Higher Than All, Farther Than All, Faster Than All,” D. Pjatkin, 1954. It reminds me of US propaganda posters during WWII supporting the war effort.

The upper panel portrays the USSR and the lower portrays the USA. The American boy is reading a sign informing him that the school is closed. This poster promotes the notion that Americans are unable to educate their youth, and therefore an uneducated people.

This 1971 poster by A. Leonov & A. Sokolov reads “Glory to the explorers of space” and was not likely referring to the American astronauts of Apollo 14 and 15 who visited the moon that year.

The last few posters go for a realistic style, but not photorealism. They have foregrounds and backgrounds.

I did not choose this topic for any political reasons, rather because I like the look of the artwork and I really like Cyrillic print. I prefer these Soviet posters over ones with English text because I can focus more on the how the poster looks than what political message it may be trying to convey.

communism, posters, print
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Aesthetic Exploration: Soviet Propaganda […]

  • I like the historical sense in your post. The Soviet Propaganda testimonies not only the politics evolvement but also the culture development. The poster with a girl reminds me of the poster I saw when I was a kids in China. The Soviet influenced China by such a deep extent that even in the aesthetics field you still can find the shadow of it.

  • Yousef Alqattan
    January 27, 2019 2:41 pm

    I’m not sure, but I believe the aesthetic you are trying to portray is the power of propaganda in melding peoples minds to believe what the government wants them to. This is an interesting aesthetic in my opinion as it shows how propaganda can make the beautiful ugly and the ugly beautiful, it does this by changing peoples perceptions of reality which is very powerful if you think about it. It also exposes how we as people and societies think and react when our feelings of nationality and pride are evoked.

  • This was a nice read. I really liked the picture chosen to aid in your blogpost. It is very cool to see the different types of way propaganda was used to influence the USSR’s people. However, some of the writing merely just described the poster rather than explain the aesthetic.


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