Friday, October 12, 2007

Another brave new world

Let Pluralism Live Long!
Author unknown, Eighties

Those who hope that we shall move away from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed. Every part of our program of perestroika […] is fully based on the principle of more socialism and more democracy.

“Perestroika - New Thinking for Our Country and the World”, Mikhail Gorbachev, 1988

Pluralism of opinions” was one of the main slogans in the “Glasnost” campaign, which took place in Russia in the eighties. After the WW2 the internal contradictions in political life, social life and economy kept piling up for years. Stalin was cutting the knot with force, Khruzchev was improvising, but with no significant long-term effect, Brezhnev’s rule was called “Stagnation”, Andropov and Chernenko were too old not only to make any changes, but to live at all (Andropov – 68, Chernenko – 72, when elected), so only the relatively young Gorbachev admitted that the Soviet Union has got so many problems, which had to be solved.

But unfortunately no one knew what to do to solve the problems right. Anyway, the process was called “Perestroika” – “Restructuring”, and implied “Uskorenie” – “Speed up” in economy, “Glastnost” – “Openness” in politics and “Pluralism” in social life. “Pluralism” was to give the citizens freedom of speech and opportunities to express their own point of view, even if it contradicted with the “official” position, or positions of other citizens.

This poster is a brilliant illustration of this principle. It shows the four “Hammer and Sickle” icons which form the word “СССР” – USSR in Russian. The last “Hammer and Sickle” is inverted forming the Russian letter “Р” (and Latin letter “R” at the same time!). This creates the desired effect, as if one person (“Р”) opposes the majority (“CCC”). The slogan says: “Let Pluralism Live Long”. The choice of words is also deliberate – a great many of the communist slogans began with “Long Live…”, and this slogan although similar in meaning sounded fresh due to simple replacing of a word in it.

This poster gives an idea, that it is possible to improve the old regime and change the life of people for the better. Unfortunately, due to many reasons including incompetence of the leaders, painless switch to capitalism never happened and the initial enthusiasm died in a flow of social and economical distress of the nineties.

Check Perestroyka posters at allposters: