Propaganda played a major role in the Bolshevik coup d'état of October/November, 1917, and continued to do so in the Bolshevik and later Soviet exercise of authority. In a nation that was largely illiterate, both Lenin and Stalin recognized the importance of communicating their ideology in the clearest and most vivid form possible. Political posters emerged as a means of political indoctrination as well as an art form; they made their way into the farthest reaches of first Russia and then of the Soviet Union. This medium of propaganda clarified the regime's goals, identified its enemies--both inner and outer--and engendered enthusiasm for building the new utopia.

Stalin, consolidating power in the aftermath of Lenin's death, constantly invoked his name and image to legitimatize his own rule. The poster to the left portrays Lenin, dead since 1924, supporting the Five Year Plans of the 1930's.







Women, too, were expected to play their part in building the new utopia. "Women, adhere to the cooperation!" (left) "What the October revolution has given to working and peasant women." (right)


"Literacy is the path to communism."

Both Lenin and Stalin made concerted efforts to combat illiteracy. However, most important of all in the propaganda machine was building the "cult of the personality" around Stalin himself.




Stalin launched a campaign to enlist support for his Five Year Plans, designed (not unlike Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward) to hurl the USSR into the modern era. The First Five Year Plan, with its emphasis on industrialization and the collectiveization of agriculture ("Trotskyism without Trotsky") began in 1928.

mea culpa--no citations (what was I thinking? where was my brain?)


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