Viktor Ivanov, Great Stalin is the beacon of communism!, 1949
In Stalin Prize winner Viktor Ivanov’s ‘Great Stalin is the beacon of communism!’, Stalin stands alone in his study in front of a bookshelf containing the collected works of Marx and Engels, Lenin, and his own writings.
Caught in a moment of quiet reflection, Stalin holds a book by Lenin and appears to be pondering the words he has read. In 1949, there was an emphasis by the Soviet leadership on greater scientific, technological and ideological education of the people.
Socialism was believed to contain irrefutable scientific laws that could guide people in every branch of endeavour and, accordingly, science should flourish and lead to the discovery of absolute truths if practised in accordance with Marxist principles.
Stalin was also laying the foundations of his own claim to immortality as a great revolutionary theorist and evidently felt he was qualified to make a valuable contribution to the science of Marxism–Leninism, a contribution born from the cauldron of actual experience in endeavouring to work in a socialist system.
The poster caption refers to Stalin as a ‘beacon’. Numerous propaganda posters depict Stalin either as the source of light in the image or as illuminated by a light from above, and Stalin was associated with both natural and artificial light.
Although in this poster Stalin is lit from above in sacred golden tones, the text makes it clear that it is Stalin who has assumed Lenin’s mantle as the guiding light of communism.
Dr Anita Pisch
Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.
SPotW61 Babitskii 1944
SPotW62 Pen Varlen 1942
SPotW63 Bayuskin 1942
SPotW64 Belopol'skii 1950
SPotW65 Belopol'skii 1952
SPotW66 Dlugach 1933
SPotW67 Zhitomirskii 1942
SPotW68 Toidze 1949
SPotW69 Mikhailov 1937
SPotW70 Cheprakov 1939
SPotW76 Toidze 1943
SPotW77 Futerfas 1936
SPotW78 Mukhin 1945
SPotW79 Golub' 1948
SPotW80 Karpovskii 1948