Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The power of ideas

The pipe of Stalin
V. Deni, 1930

Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don't allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?

Joseph Stalin

Stalin was an avid smoker. But unlike Winston Churchill who was a cigar man, Stalin liked pipes. They say he was not fond of the special pipe tobacco, but was filling his pipe with contents of “Gertsegovina Flor” cigarettes. Apparently these cigarettes were very different from those available for general public, so the overall quality of the Stalin’s tobacco was quite good.

On this poster tobacco smoke has another function besides pleasing Joseph Stalin. Used as a metaphor it blows away those who according to the official position were harming the development of the soviet society and state. The first one is the Saboteur, who slows down the fulfillment of the First Five Year Plan. Joseph Stalin upon seeing the draft of the First Five Year Plan (which already was an overestimation of the Soviet capabilities of the time) ordered to complete it in four years instead of five. Not only this could intensify the development, but also gave him a good excuse to punish for deliberately poor results.

The other one is Nepach or Red Merchant or NEPman. New Economic Policy launched by Lenin in an attempt to revive the economy implied permission of small businesses. But NEP was a forced temporary measure needed only to restore the country after the Civil War and the WW1. In the thirties NEP was already cancelled as “NEP contradicted with the communism values”.

And the last one is “Kulak” – an independent peasant who was “exploiting poorer peasants”. The policy of dekulakization (raskulachivanie) was one of the measures to strip the agriculture in order to fund the industrial development.

Stalin is portrayed as a stern leader with a piercing stare, who looks for those, who hinder the arrival of communism.

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