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How Posters Were Used

“No government in the world today is making such extensive use of poster propaganda as the soviet government of Russia."

Dr. Harold Willoughby, a University of Chicago professor, made this statement in a 1921 article on posters of the Russian Civil War. Willoughby was correct, political propaganda was everywhere in the Soviet Union and when Eastern Europe fell under the sphere of Soviet influence, poster propaganda became a fixture of Communist Bloc nations.

Political posters were on buildings and displayed in nearly every facility a person entered. Posters were also a form of political indoctrination. Repetition was key to reinforcement and posters often used slogans like, "Glory to Lenin!”, "Forward to Communism!", "Long Live the Great Soviet People!", to name a few. Posters were not randomly displayed, there was a formalized plan with rules on their implementation. A poster was to be easily observed, its messages quickly absorbed and its positioning calculated to reach the audience in the best manner possible.

Below are political posters photographed during the Soviet-era. All images were borrowed from websites and photo credits are accorded where applicable.

The People and the Party are One! Moscow, 1986

Credit Flickr member JTK 94131

Along Trans Siberian Railway, 1976

Credit Flickr member Janette Asche

Children crossing Decembrists' Square. Leningrad (St. Petersburg), 1983

Credit Flickr member Peter

Factory Poster, circa 1919

Credit image taken from Soviet photomontage catalog

Hungarian poster by the artist Gonczi. Photo circa 1957

Credit fortepan_5387

Soviet Union Russia. Leningrad (St. Petersburg), 1954

Credit Henri Cartier-Bresson photos

Posters by the artists Klutsis and Deni, U.S.S.R. Circa 1932


Lenin poster


Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Jan 30, 1936

Credit Getty Images

Hotel Moskva, downtown Moscow, 1986, decorated with a propaganda poster for the 27th Congress of the CPSU


Park in Zelenogorsk near Leningrad, 1963

Credit Flickr member Normann

In the town of Vladimir, a propaganda poster for the 27th Congress of the CPSU, 1986

Credit Flickr member Gerald Leonard

Peace Poster in Leningrad, May 1990

Credit Flickr member Normann

Perestroika Red Square May Day. May 1, 1989

Credit Flickr member Raymond Cunningham

Siberian railway station, 1976

Credit Flickr member Janette Asche

World War II in the U.S.S.R.

Credit Plakaty voiny i pobedy 1941-1945, Kontact Kul'tura 2005

World War II in the U.S.S.R.

Credit Plakaty voiny i pobedy 1941-1945, Kontact Kul'tura 2005

Soviet Union Red Cross Society, September 1951

Credit Soviet Union Red Cross Society Magazine reserves the right to use all images seen on this site for educational purposes, whether the image is copyrighted or non-copyrighted. Images marked "All Rights Reserved" or indicated as copy written are assumed to have a copyright and are accorded proper credit. Every effort is made by to accord the owners or originators of images with proper credit either within the image tag or on the pages of this website.