15 responses

  1. You almost read my mind, David. I’m about to post something similar on my blog, not Russian posters, but… you’ll just have to wait and see :-)

    In case you or anyone is interested, here’s what those posters say:
    1925 – Theatre poster, an announcement for a play on January 29, 30, 31 (and Feb 1). The play is called Teacher Bubus.

    1930 – An announcement from a Zoo about getting more new animals. :-)

    1929 – That’s right – toothpaste ad

    1972 – No to Fascism

    1920 – You have to Work, you’ve got the riffle (hmm… weird ad)

  2. actually, regarding 1920 poster.. the translation is not really correct

    Right form will be “[we] have to work, but keep your rifle nearby”. Or, even “have to work, rifle is near”. Civil war time…

  3. demiurg, I guess you have a better vision than I do, ’cause I didn’t see any use of the word “but”. The 2nd version is actually the literally translated one: “have to work, rifle is near”. Anyhow, it does make more sense now :-)

    David and Johno, the post is slowly forming up, so stand by :-)

  4. The Russian poster indeed says.
    Need to work. (Rabotat Nado)
    Rifle near(by). (Vintovka Ryadom)

    -Have doesn’t translate as a synonym for need in Russian, ‘imiyet’ or ‘have’ means to be in possession of-

    The meaning that you cannot stop working because of safety concerns but you should bring a rifle. This poster was created in the nativity of the socialist Russian state and the government was still concerned about being overthrown by the anti-Bolsheviks. The concerns did not lessen until 1921.

    The majority of laborers (called Christians) were former members of the army and many had turned on the czar in 1917 (Russian Civil War). They retained their czarist weapons to use in the conflict against the monarch.

    Later as with most authoritarian governments, strict gun control was imposed on the population. Communists knew how effective having guns was for their cause when they were the revolutionaries, they did not want to give the same advantage to people that may not toe the Party line in the future.

    The poster as you can see is one of the earliest from the communist propaganda line and is a turning point in soviet design to the constructivist movement, and is even similar to the reductionist style of Piet Mondrian both in the simplicity of the shapes and the use of primary colors.

    Great post David.

  5. Yes, Soviet Poster Art is just amazing. There is a problem though. The excellent graphics speak for itself, but the history behind goes unnoticed. I have a blog on this – see the link above.

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