Can You Guess What This Soviet Poster Is Trying To Tell You?

«Вредители льна.» Внизу: «Плодитесь, размножайтесь и наполняйте землю.»
Dmitrii Moor, “The Flax Pests.” On the bottom: “Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth.” P-05, Print Collection 18: Early Soviet Posters.

Early Soviet posters aimed to end the Old Regime in every way, and that included religion. The poster above is a part of the collection of 48 Soviet propaganda posters from the 1920s and 1930s. This fascinating collection includes anti-religious and anti-capitalist messages, as well as instructional posters on the new ways of Soviet childcare and parenting. Many of them explicitly criticized the clergy, blaming them for clouding the minds of the masses with distracting messages.

«Паси овца моя.» Dmitrii Moor, “Herd my sheep.” P-07, Print Collection 18: Early Soviet Posters.

The previous version of the finding aid for this collection included a note for Poster #5 (P-05), the first image in this post, describing it as “Image of God creating pests.” However, it is unlikely that this man was meant to be God. It was not common for Soviet posters to do so, since according to Soviet communism, there was no God. So any form of religion and faith was depicted as the clergy or figures that that religion itself used, like Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and angels. Sometimes propaganda portrayed it as Jesus riding on a tank, see the image below.

«Мирные намерения Господа Нашего Иисуса Христа. » На перьях написано: «Мир!!»
Внизу на газетах написано: «Форвертс, Тайм, руль, Письмо Зиновьева..» Dmitrii Moor, “Peaceful Intentions of Our Lord Christ.” On the feathers, it says, “Peace!!” On the bottom, the newspapers say, “Time, Forwards, Rule, The Zinoviev letter…” P-03, Print Collection 18: Early Soviet Posters.

So considering that the majority of the posters in this collection condemned Orthodox Christianity specifically, could the man from Poster 5 be a priest? Do the insects represent enemies of the people or God’s punishment? Or does the poster literally refer to bad harvests? Most of the time these posters portray religious authorities as conniving, as opposed to this whimsical-looking man. Or could it be God in general? Bezbozhnik newspaper sometimes portrayed a somewhat similar-looking man as God. Could this be a scene from some religious text or does this deal with collectivization? Share your thoughts with us!

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