Soviet anti-drunkenness posters

Here's a gallery of Soviet-era anti-drunkenness posters. Some of the illustrations are really fabulous, almost Boschean in their depiction of besotted debasement

Антиалкогольные плакаты из СССР (Note: users report that the linked site triggers malware warnings) (via How to Be a Retronaut)


  1. Nice. One of my prized possessions is my В Джунглак Импириализма poster (In the Jungle of Imperialism) that has like 6 vignettes on it ranging from CIA to NATO to banana republic satire on it. If I had a photo of it handy I’d post it. Nobody did it quite like the Soviets!

  2. It’s one thing to propagandize against drunkenness, and another to actually do something about it. Gorbachev actually raised the price of vodka to combat drunkenness, and not entirely coincidentally, he lost power shortly thereafter. And then the whole country broke up. 

  3. I guess it never occurred to them to change their system so it wasn’t so shitty that people felt the need to drink themselves into oblivion. Hm.

  4. Well, their experiences are feudalism, communism and crony capitalism. That’s it. So, not a whole lot of experience with ‘not so shitty’.

      1. Kaspersky gave me dozens of alerts, which it’s never done before.  I think that it generated an alert for every image on the page.  I suspect a Kaspersky glitch.

  5. When I was in High School a bunch of kids went on a field trip to the Soviet Union.  As the result of a long, shaggy-dog story they ended up at the Moscow Ballet in a box next to a bunch of Red Army colonels.   They got talking and asked the colonels what they thought the  biggest threat to the Soviets was:  the US?  China?  some internal revolt?  The sincere one word answer was “Vodka”.

  6. I remember something from the book ‘Around the Bloc’ which said something like:  It’s a myth that Russians drink a lot. They actually drink an insane amount. 

    1. Besides the amount, there’s also the way it’s done:

      1) Serve Vodka in glass.
      2) Empty with one swift swig.
      3) Repeat steps 1 & 2, over and over again, quickly and until wasted.
      4) Now let’s talk, tovarish.

  7. The snake’s bends and swirls spell “alcoholism” (in Russian) BTW. Completely missed that the first time I saw the image.

  8. When I was in the USSR (1980), I did see a lot of people drinking, booze was cheap, and I did get drunk with a bunch of Italians in front of Lenin’s tomb while the guard changed, but the biggest number of drunks in Leningrad when I was there were the Finnish tourists – called Vodka Tourists by the locals – who came across the border to get drunk there. At the time Finland was countering its own alcoholism  problem by raising the price of a 26er to something like $70. The same bottle would cost a tourist around $15 in the USSR at the time.
    I can attest to the fact that the Russians are no slouches when it comes to drinking though. I was on an immersion course in Russian while I was there – and the word “immersion” was pretty appropriate :P

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