Gustav Klutsis, With the banner of Lenin ..., 1933
Gustav Klutsis (Густав Клуцис), With the banner of Lenin we were victorious in the battle for the October revolution. With the banner of Lenin we were victorious in attaining decisive achievements in the struggle to build socialism. With the same banner we will be victorious in our proletarian revolution throughout the world (со знаменем ленина победили мы в боях за октябрьскую революциюю со знаменем ленина добилиь мы решаюших успехов в борьбе за победу социалистического строителства. с этим же знаменем победим в пролетарской революций во всем мире), 1933
Gustav Klutsis uses sweeping diagonals and a photomontaged sea of people to create a dynamic representation of the tide of change brought on by socialism.
This 1933 poster uses hieratic scale to depict the Bolshevik leadership. Klutsis begins with the apotheosised Lenin, the largest figure cast in stone set against the red banner. Lenin's immortality is symbolised by the fact that he is treated differently from the living and is seen as foundational and monolithic.
In front of Lenin and mimicking his pose is Stalin, the General Secretary of the Central Committee. The first rank of leaders features Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Kliment Voroshilov, and Sergo Ordzhonikidze.
Marching behind them are Mikhail Kalinin, Sergei Kirov, Valerian Kuibyshev, and Stanislav Kosior. The only identified figure in the third row is Vlas Chubar (second from the left), and Anastas Mikoian and Pavel Postyshev are the couple in the rear.
The poster caption features on several posters of 1933, and had appeared as early as 1931:
With the banner of Lenin we were victorious in the battle for the October revolution.
The caption is taken from the Political Report of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.), delivered by Stalin on June 27, 1930 and published in Pravda on June 29.
This mammoth speech includes the following sections:
Stalin concludes that all achievements have been possible because "we were able to hold aloft the great banner of Lenin," before finishing with the rousing quotation that forms the poster text.
Like many of Stalin's speeches, this report consists of the relentless presentation of statistical information to drive the points home. It must have been quite a marathon performance and a feat of outstanding endurance for the speaker and audience alike.
The poster was published in a large edition of 300,000 and would also have served to familiarise the populace with the faces of the leadership in the early years of Stalin's rule.
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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SPotW63 Bayuskin 1942
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SPotW65 Belopol'skii 1952
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SPotW68 Toidze 1949
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