Vintage Soviet Propaganda Posters From The Era Of Stalin And World War II

Published August 2, 2017
Updated December 28, 2018

Whether encouraging obedience or discouraging loose talk, these Soviet propaganda posters are masterpieces of manipulation.

Vintage Soviet Propaganda Posters
"Parasites and loafers stop others from working."

Vasily Nikolaevich Kostianitsyn, 1920
New York Public Library

Woman Holding Paper
“Motherland is Calling!”

Irakli Toidze, 1941

Soviet Propagana Point Red
“Have you enlisted in the army?”

Dmitry Moor, 1920

Strimaitis Spichka
"The price of a match."

Vyacheslav Frantsevich Utrimatisya, 1920
Wikimedia Commons

Soviet Shush Woman
“Keep your mouth shut!”

Nina Vatolina, 1941

Soviet Cccp Poster
“To Defend USSR”


Valentina Kulagina, 1930

Treachery Soviet
"Treachery to Brothers"

Aleksandr Petrovich Apsit, 1918
New York Public Library

Moor D Poster
"Have you helped the front?"

Dmitry Moor, 1941

Gustavs Klucis Ussr Flag
"USSR – shock brigade of the world proletariat"

Gustavs Klucis, 1931
Wikimedia Commons

Knife Blood
"Red Army Soldier, Save Us”

Viktor Koretsky, 1942

Soviet World Imperialism
"Death to World Imperialism"

Dmitry Moor, 1919

Soviet Books
"Take care of your book - it is the true companion in campaigns and in peaceful work."

Nikolai Nikolaevich, 1919
New York Public Library

Kto Ne Rabotaet
"He who does not work, does not eat!"

Abel Anatolievich Lekomtsev, 1920
Wikimedia Commons

Menchivek Propaganda
"Beware of the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionary Party Members. They are followed by the Tsar's generals, priests and landowners."

1920
Wikimedia Commons

Lenin Soviet Propaganda
“Comrade Lenin Cleanses the Earth of Filth."

Viktor Deni, 1920
Wikimedia Commons

Knowledge Soviet Propaganda
"Knowledge will break the chains of slavery."

Alexei Radakov, 1920
Wikimedia Commons

Jesus Soviet
"Savior of the World! Follow Me Into the Bosom of My Father, And He Will Give You Eternal Life ..."

Dmitry Moor, 1920

Propaganda From The Soviet Union
"An illiterate man is a blind man."

Alexei Radakov, 1920
Wikimedia Commons

Russian Revolution Posters
"Every cook should learn to govern the state." [Lenin quote]

Il'ja P. Makarychev, 1925

The Spectre Of Communism
"The spectre of communism is moving across Europe."

Vladimir Vasil'evich Lebedev, 1925
New York Public Library

Away With Private Peasants
"Away With Private Peasants!" [Bottom text]

"The private peasants are most bestial, brutal and savage exploiters, who in the history of other countries have time and again restored the power of the landlords, tsars, priests and capitalists." [Top Text]

1930
Wikimedia Commons

Uzbek Propaganda
“Workers and Peasants: Don’t let them destroy what was created over 10 years.”

1927
Wikimedia Commons

Soviet Propaganda Hammer Green
“Let’s thrash it!”

Victor Deni, 1930

Soviet Industrialization
"Let's speed up industrialization in the USSR with deposits to the Labor Savings Offices."

1932
Wikimedia Commons

Soviet Waste
"Fence in where there is danger."

Vyacheslav Francevich Strimaytis, 1941
Wikimedia Commons

Striped Shirt
“For Motherland!”

Alexei Kokorekin, 1943

Kids Books
“Young builders of Communism, go forth toward the new achievements in labor and education!”

1943

Ivanov V Soviet Poster
"To the west!"

Viktor Ivanov, 1943

Soviet Propaganda
"We'll raise a generation, selflessly loyal to communism."

Viktor Ivanov, 1947
Wikimedia Commons

Modern Soviet propaganda first appeared during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Used to promote the revolution and engender optimism for the new society, this propaganda also sought to attack opponents of Vladimir Lenin’s government, including the ruling class, landowning peasants, and anyone espousing competing communist ideologies.

At the time, very few newspapers were published and therefore propagandistic posters served as a primary means of communication. During the revolution, posters were sent to the front lines of communist opposition cities with the warning that “anyone who tears down or covers up this poster is committing a counter-revolutionary act”.

After the revolution, posters were commissioned from some of the biggest artists in the Soviet Union and encompassed many different revolutionary aesthetics in order to promote communist values related to hard work, fairness, and education.

With Joseph Stalin in charge by the late 1920s, Soviet propaganda began to focus more on political discipline and ambitious government programs, particularly the collectivization of land and establishment of industry.

In service of these aims, the government produced countless dynamic, somewhat abstract posters featuring bright colors and distinct shapes. However, this aesthetic was later replaced with one featuring more lifelike images. And always present were core communist symbols like the red star as well as the hammer and sickle.

With the onset of World War II, Soviet propaganda took on a new importance in rallying national support for the war effort and convincing eligible people to enlist.

Wartime aside, Soviet propaganda became a defining aspect of the nation's very culture, spreading the aesthetics, values, and lessons of the Soviet ideology throughout the nation and beyond.


Next, for more Russian propaganda posters, check out this gallery of Soviet posters from the Cold War. Then, check out these World War I posters that inspired much of modern propaganda.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe is a New York City-based writer and an Editorial Intern at All That Is Interesting.