Thursday, August 16, 2007

Welcome to Soviet Marlboro Country!

Smoke Captain’s Cigars!
Sakharov S. G., 1939

This is another distinctive tobacco poster. Dated 1939, right before the WW2, it promotes smoking of “Glavtabak” tobacco products. By this time all separate tobacco factories got consolidated under the “NarkomPischeProm” Ministry (National Food Industry Ministry), which was forming state orders to produce certain quantities of goods. It were the governmental officials, who were defining what soviet citizens could eat, drink, wear and smoke.

In 1935 Stalin declared that “It is people who are the most valuable asset”. This give way to the petty-bourgeois pleasures, like dancings, jazz, flowers on streets. Several recreational parks were opened, with the Gorky Park (named after famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky) in the center of Moscow. They were called “Parks of Culture and Recreation”, reminding that they are not about recreation only.

Nevertheless, the soviet society was heavily stratified. The majority was working in kolkhozy and on factories for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for the wages which weren’t enough to buy ample food and to get rid of shabby clothes. On the other hands, the officials, trusted folk and young professionals were allowed to get goods at low prices or for free and visit resorts.

Check these vintage posters at!