9 May marks the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945 and was a national celebration in the Soviet Union (the День Победы, Victory Day). It was an important date in Soviet propaganda, carrying a lot of meaning:

  • It was above all a Soviet victory, since the Soviet Union contributed greatly to the war effort (the Red Army inflicted aroudn 80% of the casualties in the Wehrmacht, the German army) and was responsible for conquering Berlin.
  • It was also a victory over the former invader: Germany had invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, an aggression which was heavily present in Soviet propaganda.
  • Finally, it was a victory against an enemy of the working class, as the Soviet Union theorized that Nazi imperialism was effectively a manifestation of capitalism (refer to Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism by Lenin).

Nowadays the celebration is still carried out in Russia and in many former Soviet republics (the military parade in Moscow is especially worth mentioning), though its meaning shifted from a celebration of victory over Nazism to a display of force.

Speaking of the poster itself, it features the Soviet firearm PPSh-41, one of the most popular guns in the WWII. It is wrapped in the black-and-orange ribbon of the Order of Glory, issued for combat valour in the Great Patriotic War (the official Soviet name for the war against Nazism), which in contemporary Russia became the Cross of St. George and has been associated both with WWII remembrance and Russian nationalism. The white dove in the background is a symbol of peace, hinting at the message that the Soviet fought to bring peace.

Poster by Yevgeny Kazhdan (1922–1984); issued in 1969, republished in 1983 with slight alterations. (Thanks to u/Plan4Chaos)

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