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A Revolution Centenary

Soviet poster dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the October Revolution and IV Congress of the Communist International.

November 2017 marks one hundred years since the start of the revolution that embarked to destroy the entire pre-Soviet world and create a new one from its ruins. The Russian Revolution made a profound impact on the thinking and behaviour of later generations, and how the outside world perceived these societies.

On 7 November 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government; workers, soldiers and peasants, indeed the vast majority of ordinary people colluded in shaking off a centuries-old monarchy, a few months later seizing power.

All this year, museums and media outlets around the world are exploring this monumentous period in modern world history, you can read our study guide about the period here.

Regarding our main image: a Soviet poster dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the October Revolution and IV Congress of the Communist International.

Posters played an integral role during the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War. At the time, very few newspapers were published, often a poster replaced the tabloid. Poster art was widely accessible to the masses, the images depicted were easily understood, accompanied by a short and energetic slogan stuck in the viewers mind, as a constant call for action. In time of Civil War, propaganda posters were sent to the front lines in the same capacity as bullets and artillery shells. They were posted on walls, in cities which were under assault by the White Guard armies and foreign interventionists. The bottom of the vivid, bright-colored poster usually contained a warning: “Anyone who tears down or covers up this poster – is committing a counter-revolutionary act”. The poster was a powerful weapon, and just like any weapon, it had to be guarded with utmost care. (source: www.sovietposters.com)