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Russian and Soviet Propaganda Posters

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 2 Feb 2021

Biographical History

Tsar Ivan III (1440-1505) was the first to take the title "Grand Duke of all the Russias," effectively uniting the former loose confederation of Slavic states into a single political entity. Russia became an empire in 1721 and grew to become the third-largest in history. The Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905) involved competing claims over Manchuria and Korea. Russia participated in World War I, fighting with France, Belgium, the United States and other Allied powers against Germany, Austro-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and others. A period of internal turmoil from 1917-1922 eventually resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the Russian Soviet Republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union again sided with the Allied powers against Germany, Japan, and Italy. Following World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in an ideological competition known as the Cold War; nominally centered on their competing economic systems of communism and capitalism, the rivalry seeped into almost every aspect of life, from military attitudes to mass popular culture.

Patriotic and propagandistic posters have been a feature of most nations' history since the early 1900s, being particularly prevalent during periods of conflict or national threat. Intended both to indoctrinate and to inspire, Russian and Soviet propaganda posters emphasize the intellectual and physical superiority of her citizens and soldiers. Early Russian posters are illustrative, colorful, and detailed, featuring individuals such as the Cossack Petrukh, while Soviet-era posters tend towards simple, bold, graphic designs and focus on generic individuals such as "the worker" and "the soldier." Cold War-era posters often highlight Soviet science and industry as superior to that of Western countries.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Russian and Soviet Propaganda Posters collection consists of eleven posters, six from pre-revolutionary Russia and five from the Soviet Union. Most deal with external threats or conflicst, including the Russo-Japanese War, World War I and II, and the Cold War. One, from 1982, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Union.

Arrangement of the Collection

Items are in chronological order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Cold War -- Posters.
Political posters, Russian.
Political posters, Soviet.
Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905 -- Posters.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Posters.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Posters.


Russia -- Foreign relations.
Soviet Union -- Foreign relations.

Genres and Forms


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Russian and Soviet Propaganda Posters,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Rick Dobbis, 2020.

Table of Contents

Printed material