Vladislav Pravdin, It is our blessing..., 1949
Vladislav Pravdin (Правдин, В.), It is our blessing that in the trying years of the war the Red Army and the Soviet people were led forward by the wise and tested leader of the Soviet Union the great Stalin. (это наше счастье, что в трудные годы войны Красную Армию и советский народ вел вперед мудрый и испытанный вождь Советского Союза – Великий Сталин.), 1949
By 1949, victory in the Great Patriotic War (Second World War) was sometimes attributed almost solely to Stalin, both in the news media, and in propaganda.
Marshal Georgi Zhukov had gained enormous popularity for his role in the war victory, and on the first Victory Day stood side by side with Stalin on the Lenin Mausoleum to receive the gratitude and adulation of the pressing crowds. However, by 1948, Marshal Zhukov had completely disappeared from the public eye.
In Vladislav Pravdin’s 1949 poster, Stalin stands at attention amid a backdrop of billowing flags and ribbons, and gazes out of the picture frame to the future which his wisdom and brilliance have brought to the Soviet people.
The three medal ribbons flowing over Stalin’s right shoulder are the Order of Lenin (red and gold), the Order of the Red Banner (red and white) and the Order of Suvorov, 1st Class (yellow and green).
The Order of Lenin was the highest civilian honour that could be bestowed on a citizen although, after the war, it was also given to those who had performed 25 years of conspicuous military service.
The Order of the Red Banner was the first Soviet military decoration, established during the Civil War in 1918.
The Order of Suvorov, 1st Class, was created in 1942, named in honour of Russian Field Marshal Count Aleksandr Suvorov. The 1st Class order was given to army commanders for exceptional leadership of combat operations.
Together, these three ribbons identify Stalin as having demonstrated extraordinary military prowess from the time of the Civil War, right through the Great Patriotic War, and continuing to the present day of the poster in 1949.
The lengthy caption to the poster leaves no doubt as to who is responsible for leading the people safely through the war to victory:
It is our blessing that during the hard years of war the Red Army and the Soviet people were guided into the future by the wise and experienced leader of the Soviet Union – Great Stalin
The text of the poster, taken from Vyacheslav Molotov’s speech on the 28th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, 1945, makes reference to the hardship of the war, but does not tie this hardship specifically to the people, nor thank them for their sacrifices.
Instead, it is the people who must thank the great warrior Stalin for guiding them into the future. This gratitude assumes an almost spiritual dimension as Stalin is described as a ‘blessing’ for the people.
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