Viktor Deni and Nikolai Dolgorukov, Results of the First Five-Year Plan, 1933
This 1933 poster by graphic art duo Viktor Deni and Nikolai Dolgorukov shows a worker joyfully holding a copy of the newspaper Pravda announcing the results of the first five-year plan.
The worker and the industrial construction and agricultural silos surrounding him, are all coloured the sacred red of the Bolshevik revolution.
Sporting a Stalin-like moustache, the worker's broad smile is emphasised by the contrast of his white teeth against the red fill of his figure.
Pravda reports Stalin's speech of January 7, 1933 in which he revealed the results of the first five-year plan and discussed future directions for industry, agriculture and class struggle.
The first two sections of the speech are reproduced in full under the two section headings:
I. International significance of the five-year plan
II. The fundamental task of the five-year plan and the way to its fulfilment.
Beneath this 'socialist' section of the poster is a dividing band containing a paragraph of text in red. The text is a highlighted quote from the speech by Stalin:
The results of the five-year plan have shown that the capitalist system of economy is bankrupt and unstable; that it has outlived its day and must give way to another, a higher, Soviet, socialist system of economy (I. Stalin)
Filling the bottom quarter of the poster beneath this is a segment illustrating this divide between the capitalist and socialist systems.
An overweight and ugly white male capitalist in top hat reels backwards, away from the encroaching banners of the red front. Buildings appear to be collapsing around him and a skull with the word 'crisis' emblazoned across its forehead looms menacingly.
The Great Depression had begun in the West in 1929 and in 1933, just days before the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States was gripped by a banking crisis. The banks were closed for a period extending from March 2 to March 13th, halting panicked withdrawals by customers.
Although ultimately preserved, the capitalist system was unstable and appeared to be under threat. Thus, Stalin had some evidence to back his claims that the socialist system was in the ascendent.
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.
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