So here we are again, with three images from 1920. First up, Lenin proclaims that the spirit is stalking Europe, the spirit of Communism:
I really like the composition of this image, with the strong diagonal of Lenin and the flag behind him set against the upright of the factory chimney. On the other hand, I don't like the overly cramped and bizarrely arranged typesetting much. Anyone got an explanation for the floral emblem on the red flag?
This next poster is rather splendid and perhaps should be put up in the teaching rooms of all educationalists. AN ILLITERATE MAN IS A BLIND MAN, it proclaims.
The colours make me think of today's Russian flag and the stylised clouds, together with the patterned border, somehow evoke a fairy tale illustration. Together with the traditional style of dress worn by the blindfold man, they lead my mind to the wonderful folkloric tradition of Russia and eastern Europe, which I know only from collections of children's tales (not least the very wonderful Old Peter's Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome, which volume I have tucked away somewhere, doubtless in a box in storage. Gosh, the terrible inconvenience of separation from one's books.) On a sartorial note, check out those patterned trousers. Lordy.
Finally, we get the Russian Civil War's own version of the famous Kitchener recruiting poster from 1914.
The message asks, have you volunteered? Unlike the Kitchener original, or the 1917 Uncle Sam version (which was re-used in the Second World War also) here the interlocutor is a comrade, not a superior or a national icon.
There's a lot more going on in this Russian version than in either of the originals, too. It's a less clean and decisive image, and the billowing clouds of smoke are frankly ominous: neither of the versions on the left suggest what it is exactly that the act of joining up entails, perhaps wisely.
Nonetheless I like the - once again - restrained colours and stylised graphic impact of the Russian image, especially the factory silhouetted against the sky and the glimpses through its windows. I'm not sure how military an image it is, mind.