Putin's crude propaganda posters preserved
by Sarah Hurst (@XSovietNews)
Putin's crude propaganda posters preserved
by Sarah Hurst (@XSovietNews)
In April 2014, just after the annexation of Crimea, huge political posters began appearing on buildings in central Moscow. These weren't protests by risk-taking opposition activists: they were the work of a shadowy new organisation with the Soviet-sounding name Glavplakat, obviously created by the Kremlin. The posters with their sinister images and slogans kept coming for a while, and there were hundreds more on Glavplakat's website, which disappeared in early 2018 but is accessible via the online Wayback Machine.
In April 2014, just after the annexation of Crimea, huge political posters began appearing on buildings in central Moscow. These weren't protests by risk-taking opposition activists: they were the work of a shadowy new organisation with the Soviet-sounding name Glavplakat, obviously created by the Kremlin. The posters with their sinister images and slogans kept coming for a while, and there were hundreds more on Glavplakat's website, which disappeared in early 2018 but is accessible via the online Wayback Machine.
A selection of these posters tells us what messages the Kremlin was sending out in 2014-18 – mainly about Ukraine and Russia's opposition being the poodles of the West, and the West being on the side of neo-Nazis and ISIS.
The posters give us an unusual glimpse into Vladimir Putin's efforts to restore the perceived glory of the Soviet Union and control the minds of his people.
The posters give us an unusual glimpse into Vladimir Putin's efforts to restore the perceived glory of the Soviet Union and control the minds of his people.
Fifth column, aliens among us
Glavplakat made its debut with this giant poster
on the front of Moscow's bookshop Dom Knigi on April 11, 2014.
People on the “Aliens among us cards” included writers Boris Akunin, Viktor Shenderovich, Alfred Kokh, Dmitri Bykov and Lev Rubinstein, economists Igor Yurgens and Sergei Guriev, environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova, former politician Anatoly Chubais, head of the Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov, political prisoner Sergei Udaltsov, journalists Alexander Ryklin, Sergei Parkhomenko, Pavel Gusev, Natalia Sindeyeva, Bozena Rynska, Artemy Troitsky, Ksenia Sobchak, Vladimir Pozner, Valery Panyushkin, Aydar Muzhdabayev, Alexander Minkin, Yelena Masyuk, Yulia Latynina, Oleg Kashin, Alexei Venediktov, Yevgenia Albats, Yelizaveta Osetinskaya, Galina Timchenko and Mikhail Fishman, bloggers Andrei Malgin and Rustem Adagamov, human rights activists Olga Romanova, Valeria Novodvorskaya, Yevgeny Ikhlov and Lev Ponomarev, musician Alexei Kortnev, opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov, MP Dmitri Gudkov, former MP Gennady Gudkov, art gallery owner Marat Gelman, singer Anastasia Volochkova, Dozhd TV owner Alexander Vinokurov, and opposition activist Vladimir Ashurkov.
Liberal journalists also reported that they received sets of "Aliens among us" cards with pictures of Russian opposition figures on them. The poster featured the faces of rock musicians Yuri Shevchuk and Andrei Makarevich, opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov and Alexei Navalny, and MP Ilya Ponomarev, who was the only MP to vote against the annexation of Crimea and subsequently fled the country. Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in February 2015. The faces were accompanied by two aliens dressed in black with pointy heads, one of whom was holding a briefcase with a white ribbon on it, the symbol of opposition protests.

Describing themselves as an "art group", Glavplakat published a statement on their website: "Many films have been made and many books have been written about aliens secretly taking over Earth, disguised as humans. For a long time no one even suspects that they are aliens – enemies. We haven't encountered any real aliens yet. But the 'fifth column' of national traitors in Russia has unfortunately become an indisputable reality. In essence these are the same 'aliens'. Pretending that they are acting in the interests of Russia and our citizens, they serve the interests of completely different 'civilisations'."
These people create an atmosphere of intolerance
This giant poster that was hung up on a building opposite the liberal Ekho Moskvy radio station on March 10, 2015 was a response to accusations that Boris Nemtsov had been killed two weeks earlier because of the atmosphere of intolerance created by the Kremlin, if not directly on Putin's orders.
It featured the faces of writers Viktor Shenderovich and Dmitri Bykov, rock musician Andrei Makarevich, opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Navalny's aide Leonid Volkov with quotes from them to illustrate why they should be considered instigators of hate. Shenderovich was featured for comparing the Sochi Winter Olympics to Hitler's Olympics of 1936; Bykov for saying, "The majority of the Russian population aren't capable of anything, and it's pointless to re-educate them, they can't do anything and don't want to work; we should give them the opportunity to sleep peacefully or die of old age"; Makarevich for saying, "Russians have had a habit of cruelty since the times of the Tatar yoke"; Navalny for saying, "I am an online hamster and I will rip those cattle to shreds. We'll do it together"; and Volkov for saying, "When all this ends, of course, there will be separate lustration with serrated hooks for the information sources, and also the political scientists."
The fifth column insisted on sanctions against their own country – by supporting sanctions they cause a decline in revenues, price increases and unemployment
Glavplakat put up this giant poster on a building opposite liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy
on January 23, 2015.
The poster features the faces of Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Ponomarev, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov.
It says that Navalny "scares Europe", quoting him as saying, "Without sanctions the Russian army would be in Odessa." Nemtsov "feeds illusions" with his quote, "The imposed sanctions could lead to destabilisation of the country. Putin will get crisis and chaos in Russia." Ponomarev "dreams of living in the US", as illustrated by his quote, "The true goal of sanctions is a change of government in Russia." Khodorkovsky "approves from Switzerland" and is quoted as saying, "Sanctions have played their positive role." Venediktov "looks to the future with hope", saying, "Sanctions are a radioactive object that slowly infects the organism, and then the organism starts to rot." Just over a month later Nemtsov was shot dead on a bridge in front of the Kremlin.
The Navalny effect: Being on the West's leash
On a building near the British embassy in Moscow on April 15, 2016
This giant poster was put up on a building near the British embassy in Moscow.
Bill Browder, in a bowler hat and holding a British flag, has Alexei Navalny on a leash as his dog.

Browder is one of Putin's main enemies, as the author of Magnitsky sanctions against Russian
human rights abusers dedicated to the memory of Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison in
2009.

This giant poster was put up on a building near the British embassy in Moscow on April 15, 2016. It referred to a faked Russian TV report that claimed Browder and Navalny had corresponded via Skype and been given CIA codenames.

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