Wednesday, September 5, 2007

And all the sweet serenity of books...

Book trade-exhibition in spring
Unknown artist, 1926

This was 1926, when the country was still recovering from the WW1, the Civil War and the War Communism, introduced by Lenin. To avoid loosing power due to national distress, Lenin launched New Economic Policy which implied restoration of private property on a small scale in a number of fields. NEP boosted the agricultural output, resulting in significant rise of living standards. But many true Marxists considered NEP to be a betrayal of the communist ideals, so after Lenin’s death in 1924 the number of NEP supporters in the party started to decrease. Stalin who after Lenin’s death was gaining power finally killed NEP in 1929, replacing it with a program of global industrialization in a form of a first Five Year Plan.

This poster advertises the book trade-exhibition held in spring in Moscow somewhere on Petrovskay street, starting May 15, 1926. In the Soviet Times such exhibitions were a perfect way not only to meet with favorite authors but also to purchase a rare edition. Quality books were one of the main means of entertainment in the country so popularity of reading was skyrocketing, resulting in kilometer-long queues to events like this trade-exhibition.