Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Better to feed one cat, than many mice

Bread for Motherland!
V. Kononov, 1978

In 1970 the new Five Year was being drafted in the same manner as the previous ones. But the worker’s riots at Gdansk Shipyard made the Soviet Government change its plans. The Prague Spring events and their dreadful political consequences when Soviet tanks suppress the anti-Soviet movements in Czechoslovakia were still fresh in the memory. To prevent the possible social distress Brezhnev decided to increase the production of consumer goods and foodstuff. Where to find the money to fund the undeveloped consumer goods industry and agriculture? The budget was dominated by huge military expenses, heavy industry investments and aid for the third world countries. These were the items no one dared cutting, although they were killing the economy.

So the export of raw materials like oil and diamonds was increased. The money was being spent on direct purchasing of grain and other products abroad, but not for development of domestic agriculture. The move may seem to be unreasonable, but it was not. Rather it has to be called short-sighted. The thing was that in the seventies return of investments in agriculture was negative due to the stagnated planning system. The diamond money would have sunk with no significant return.

So, the poster is ironic indeed: the artist was picturing a merry Soviet kolkhoznik, who was feeding the Motherland and got a sailor with a ship full of grain from the USA instead.

Buy beautiful grain posters at allposters: