Iraklii Toidze, I am pleased and happy... , 1937
One of the most interesting pairings of Lenin and Stalin of 1937 occurs in Iraklii Toidze’s
‘“I am pleased and happy to know how our people fought and how they have achieved a world-historic victory. I am pleased and happy to know that the blood freely shed by our people, was not in vain, that it has produced results!” I. Stalin’.
The top half of the poster deals with the present day in 1937.
Stalin stands at a raised podium in front of a banner with a bas-relief of Lenin’s head enclosed in a medallion.
Below Stalin is a crowd of citizens, all paying tribute, including a young child — symbol of the new nation; an old man holding a bound copy of the 1936 Stalin constitution; an aviator; and, in the centre, elevated above the others but below Stalin, is the Rodina, symbol of the motherland, bearing aloft a cornucopia of harvest.
Stalin acknowledges the tribute paid to him with a strange, cupped hand gesture to the crowd. 1937 is depicted as a year of success and abundance, and Lenin appears as a kind of Soviet saint or deity whose presence confers approval upon the scene below.
The middle of the poster consists of a broad red text box containing the poster caption, which is a quotation from Stalin from the ‘Report on the draft constitution of the USSR.’ Extraordinary Eighth Congress of Soviets of the USSR, 25 Nov. 1936.
In this lengthy speech, Stalin discusses the changes in Soviet life since the previous constitution was instituted in 1924 and the necessity for a new constitution to reflect the recent declaration of the triumph of socialism in the USSR:
"Thus, the draft of the new Constitution is a summary of the path that has been traversed, a summary of the gains already achieved. In other words, it is the registration and legislative embodiment of what has already been achieved and won in actual fact." (Apparently greeted by loud applause.)
The bottom of the poster depicts a scene from the Bolsheviks’ mythic past. Lenin and a younger Stalin stand side by side, towering over, but separated from, the troops rushing into action during the Civil War.
While the scene at the top is static and the red banner does not move, all but Lenin and Stalin are in motion in the scene below, cavalry surging forward and the banner billowing in the wind.
Muscles ripple and strain, sabres are raised and pistols cocked, clouds swirl in the sky and a beam of light falls upon the head of the lead horse, and endowing the scene with a sense of the mythic or supernatural.
Stalin and Lenin are shown here as equals, although Lenin points the way forward to victory. Stalin is treated visually differently from the apotheosised Lenin in the part of the poster that deals with 1937, but the pair are treated similarly as co-leaders of the Party during the Revolution and Civil War in the part dealing with the past.
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