Must Read

| Mon Feb. 19, 2001 4:00 AM EST

_
Absolut propaganda

A new Museum of Contemporary History of Russia exhibit spans 70 years of advertising that would make the Swedish vodka giant proud. But, explains THE MOSCOW TIMES, rather than encourage alcohol consumption, the posters on display chronicle a long campaign to sober up the Russian people.

Recent Must Reads

2/16 - 'Traffic' vs. reality

2/15 - Household poisoning

2/14 - Give me your heart, you swine

2/13 - GOP scares XXX biz

Early Bolshevik posters depicted alcohol as a czarist plot to keep the masses drunk and placated. Some 1920s ads used statistics to make their point, one of the most compelling being that homemade vodka wasted 2.4 million tons of bread. After the revolution, drinkers were cast as roadblocks to progress. "Smash the enemy of the cultural revolution," read one poster of a worker destroying a vodka bottle with a large hammer.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

While running its anti-alcohol campaigns, the government raked in profits from state-owned distilleries and eventually appealed to the people with vodka: In 1982, it lowered the price of vodka with an inexpensive "Andropovka" brand after Yuri Andropov succeeded Leonid Brezhnev.

Read THE MOSCOW TIMES article here.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.