Demyan Bedny’s perspective on 1937 Germany
November 24, 2012 — 15:18

Author: | Category: Lithographs of Byev Yordansky | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments: Off
The Nazi Threat

Lithograph depicting the difference between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

This poster’s title says, “With us…with them…” Translated from Russian by Petr, webmaster at Propaganda Posters, it quotes some of the poetry of Demyan Bedny:

The path of our country is bright and great, heroic… everything is full of a hurricane of creativity… Our happiness of living was created by STALIN – he made [our happiness] the law… Young geniuses are born… and elderly look at them with pride.

The fascist’s path is full of dark clouds, their air is poisonous… Everybody who wears swastika looses human face and acquires the look of a beast… fascism… provides rest at prisons only, they throw their cultural heritage into fire, the youth is to get dum and the elderly have only one way to escape from suffering – to die…. but the proletariat will crush the fascism!

Demyan Bedny is a pseudonym for  Yefim Pridvorov. It means “Damian the Poor”.  Bedny was an ardent supporter of Communism and much of his work lauds the Communist state. Understandably, his poetry has not been widely translated.

Some historians and the journals of  Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya give another perspective on the people’s views of the time. Ultimately, the Soviets, with all their ambitious industrialization projects and tight control, did repel the German advance on the Soviet Union and helped to weaken the German efforts toward the end of WWII.

remembering lost prisoners

Remembering prisoners during the Great Purges who passed through these Butovo woods en route to the trains to Siberia.




ABOVE: The girl in the photograph in the woods outside Butovo is remembering those who died in the NKVD firing range of Butovo during the Great Purges. Butovo was a processing center for “enemies of the state” during several years. It has been documented that on some days, more than 500 prisoners were shot in a single day. There, trains also loaded boxcars full of prisoners en route to Siberia from the Moscow area.

village become cemetery

Journal page of Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya, titled the village that became a cemetery.

Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya’s journal page titled,“Village that Became a Cemetery” depicts the effect of Stalin’s Great Purges one village.


The Great Purges

Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya

Former Killing Ground becomes Shrine

Butovo Execution and burial site

some of the lost

Faces of some of the people who were lost during the Great Purges of 1937.

Photos of a few of those arrested and never found after the Great Purges. These photos are on display at a shrine honoring victims of the Great Purges of 1936-7. It opened in Butovo, Russia in 2007.

Suggested retail price: $950USD


Workers of All Countries, Unite!
November 24, 2012 — 10:54

Author: | Category: Lithographs of Byev Yordansky | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Workers of All Countries, Unite!
This poster, commemorating industrial advances in 1936,  urges, “Workers of all countries, unite.”

Among its articles on Stalin, Wikipedia says of The Industrialization movement during the years from 1932—1942:

“Stalin’s “Five-Year Plans” called for a highly ambitious program of state-guided crash industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture.

With seed capital unavailable because of international reaction to Communist policies, little international trade, and virtually no modern infrastructure, Stalin’s government financed industrialization both by restraining consumption on the part of ordinary Soviet citizens to ensure that capital went for re-investment into industry, and by ruthless extraction of wealth from the kulak landowners.

“Common and political prisoners in labor camps were forced to do unpaid labor, and communists and Komsomolsk members were frequently “mobilized” for various construction projects.

“The Soviet Union used numerous foreign experts, to design new factories, supervise construction, instruct workers and improve manufacturing processes. 521 factories were built between 1930 and 1932. In spite of early breakdowns and failures, the first two Five-Year Plans achieved rapid industrialization from a very low economic base. While it is generally agreed that the Soviet Union achieved significant levels of economic growth under Stalin, these gains were accomplished at the cost of millions of lives.“

Historians agree that Five-Year Plans during these years substantially helped to modernize the previously backward Soviet economy. New products were developed, and the scale and efficiency of existing production greatly increased. Some innovations were based on indigenous technical developments, others on imported foreign technology.  Despite the great costs, the industrialization effort allowed the Soviet Union to fight, and ultimately win its WWII conflicts.”

journal page Siberian traintriacks

From Eufrosinia Kersnovskaya’s journal page Siberian train-track construction

ABOVE: An entry called,  “On the Railroad” from one of the 12 journals of Eufrosinia_Kersnovskaya. The journals describe her life during 1939—1952. She spent 12 years in Soviet prisons because she was the daughter of a Ukrainian landowner. She produced 680 drawings of her recollections.


A modern gulag

A modern gulag

Many labor camps, “Gulags”, like this one, although now somewhat more humane, are still in operation.  It is not uncommon for political and other prisoners to be housed in camps like this one. This camp is located near the Ural Mountains. You can see some of the prisoners standing on the walkway.

Visiting the gulag

Visiting the gulag

In this group picture, the girls you see in the second row of the lower photo and the men with longer hair are visitors.

BELOW: Compare the idyllic 1936 poster with Kersnovskaya’s entry, “Entering Labor Camp”.



Industrialization movement

The USSR 1936 – 1938 “The Great Purges

Black’s Academy Article on “The Great Purges”



the prision yard

In the prision yard


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