The Bolshevik

The Bolshevik
A painting from 1920 by Russian artist Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev (1878–1927) currently in the possession of The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

28 February 2011

Images of an Emerging New World

As the war drew to an end, Stalin had already decided what he wanted from the spoils of war, even though occupying some Eastern European countries and annexing the Baltic states is still a question of morality and the right to take over countries.

Before I venture into the end of WWII (to the Russians, "The Great Patriotic War"), and the "Cold War" - I thought a few posters and other pictures of propaganda from a War ravaged and politically untrusting government bent on "winning the hearts and minds" with promises for the stomach.

Intentional famines in the southern regions of the Soviet Union by Stalin to force compliance to his collectivisation laws and taxes among the Kulaks (or rather ex-Kulaks) of the agrarian lands well south of Moscow. These minor land-owners, or "wealthy peasants" were a significant problem for both Stalin and Lenin because these land-owning peasants became so because of Russian Imperial reform about 10 years before the October Revolution. They vehemently opposed the entire notion of Leninist-Marxist socialism-communism, especially since they had essentially bought their freedom and managed to create a profit through their work which allowed them to buy the land they worked.

The Kulaks and how they were systematically eradicated by Stalin (though Lenin began the killing with the Cheka) and his NKVD and Smersh troops, along with entire cultural and ethnic peoples will be discussed elsewhere.

The following are a few posters and other political art from the 1930s-1940s.

Please enjoy (those who are old enough - or watched enough old Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny cartoons may recognize the Soviet Versions of some of our own WWII propaganda posters - like "Rosie the Riveter" and some of those old cartoons themselves).

The Battle of Stalingrad and Hitler's resounding,
and more importantly, humiliating defeat there started
a complete role reversal of battle tactics - namely the
Nazi War Machine had broken down and was loping
back to Berlin without a single significant win when
fighting the Red Army until the Soviets were standing
atop the Reichstag's making the famous replacement
of the Nazi headquarters flag for the USSR hammer
and sickle on that great red field. The rifle has the
word "Stalingrad" and the caption is basically -
"We beat the malicious Fuhrer here, we can beat
him anywhere." 

Propaganda poster for winning of the Battle of Moscow
and a likeness of the actual medal awarded to all those
who were responsible in some capacity for keeping the enemy at the gates out - whether they were bankers given
a rifle or a trained soldier or NKVD trooper.

"The sniper strikes from afar, but he always is certain [acurate - trans.]!"

This propaganda piece alludes to the Non-Agression Pact signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, which Hitler violated brought the full rath of not only the government, but of the public as well. This is reminiscent of the the
Warner Bros' cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny and several anti-Nazi nd pro US Army rediness and dominance cartoons. The newspaper Hitler is hiding behind has a headline about the Non-Agression Pact and the text at the top reads:
"Mercilessly smash and destroy the enemy!"
"Glory to the Partisan Heroes Who Destroy the Enemy's Rear Line [preventing them from leaving spies, mines
or having any other means of escape - trans.]" Partisans from countries with the former "Soviet Sphere of Influence" were greatly admired and given practically a hero status among both the public and the government. Countries like Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Poland as well as members of the Baltic States. The most obvious problem with the partisan movements is that some of them, particularly Ukrainians formed resistance groups which before WWII fought the Red Army and the Bolsheviks and many of them continued to refocus their attention on the Soviets, the most prominent was the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which had arranged and trained itself to be a formidable enemy for the officers and armed troops of the  NKVD, NKGB, MGB and to an extent, the KGB.

1 comment:

  1. i feel like posting a comment here. i believe that it is necessary for my words to be forever added to this site.