Dr. Wendy Salmond
Soviet and Post Soviet Art
21 September 2011
A New Art
It is 1917; the Proletarian people are aggressively demanding change, and a revolution is
brewing strongly. In order to establish a course of action, collective action is needed on behalf of
Narkompros. Agitational propaganda is the best form of communication to the people. This
unique and politically based art will help encourage the people to participate and support the
revolution. Lunacharsky is a leader in creating this new form of art. Lunacharsky is a Bolshevik
literary and artist. Adversely, forms of expression which include iconoclasm, mass spectacles,
and Komfut philosophies are ineffective, and lack the impact needed in a successful revolution.
The people are from an old world, and they need aggressive persuasion and agitational
propaganda to move into the new world.
Agitational propaganda, or agitprop, is effective because it can create an immediate
response from the people. As Lunacharsky said, "…it excites the feelings of the audience and
readers and has a direct influence on their will…it brings the whole content of propaganda to
white heat and makes it glow in all colors" (191-2). Lunacharsky is implying that, if the people
are encouraged to act, they will. The people just need a good push. Posters, agit-trains, and agit-
ships are the most effective forms of art, or agitprop, and they are the easiest to implement.
'These posters are used to not only gain support for the Bolshevik cause, but to be a part of the
long-term educative task of conveying basic information to the Soviet masses" (Lodder 52).
Agit-trains and agit-ships are trains and ships which have been painted to appear like posters.
These trains can travel large distances, and can attract large masses of people. In addition, "they
would travel to areas near the front line during the Civil War as mobile agitational centres
dispensing Bolshevik propaganda" (Lodder 52). Another example of agitprop is the new Soviet
seal, created by the artist and officials of Lunacharsky's Commissariat. The winning seal for the
new world consists of a "crossed hammer and sickle, a rising sun, a wheatsheaf and a classical
scroll" (Stites 86). All these symbols represent a collective social, prosperity, and the promise of
a new world. The slogan on the seal is "Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!" (Stites 86). The
revolution is not just for Russia, but for the world. This mentality helps people envision a new
future, and encourage participation in the revolution. Agitprop is inescapable, aggressive,
concise and effective. Other forms of expression such as iconoclasm and mass spectacles are
vicious, and are unsupportive of a revolution.
Iconoclasm and mass spectacles are ineffective forms of expression because they
encourage violence, rather than forming a collective, peaceful social movement. Iconoclasm is
the act of destroying old art and symbols of the old political...