Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Victory Day!


May 9th is a very special holiday in the former Soviet space -- Victory Day! Victory day celebrates when the Soviet Army defeated the Nazi forces in 1945, thereby ending World War II, or as it is usually referred to in Russian, the Great Patriotic War.

In case you haven't noticed from previous blog posts, I love Soviet-era art and propaganda posters. In fact, I collect Soviet-era newspapers (Krokodil'), posters and znachoki (lapel pins). It's pretty interesting to see how propaganda posters evolve overtime, as there is a clear difference in aesthetics between the 1920s posters, and those during the early Stalin period, World War II, and into the Khrushchev period -- and beyond.

Since the memes have come to replace printed posters, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my favorite victory day images I found on Vkontakte. From a historiographical perspective, it is fascinating to see how posters, memes and images made by private citizens (not the government) reveal how most people memorialize the Soviet victory in World War II.

"Respect them, as they fought for us"

"Thankfulness/Apprciation...never forget that, who held up their own life, so that you can can enjoy/be well in yours"

Happy Victory Day!

A poster devoted to veterans of the Great Patriotic War.

Image from Germany, 1945.

The direct translation of this poster is the following: "The Soviet people overcame, because they did not divide the Russians and "Chinks." The word "churki" is slang, derogatory term for eastern people of the East, i.e. Central Asian. This poster is pretty interesting in that it reveals the racial consciousness among people of the Soviet Union and expresses the idea that great Russian chauvinism did not undermine the unity of the Soviet war effort.

This poster is interesting in that it lists the mistakes committed by the Soviet regime. The bottom text reads" Do net repeat the mistakes of the previous generation." The words under the photos, read from left to write, starting from the top left-hand corner "Do not make yourself god, do not kill, do not commit adultery (i.e. rape), do not steal, do not lie, and do not forget."

I hope you all find that interesting and I wish you a Happy Victory Day!

Желаю всем с днём победы!

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