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- Novela Gráfica
Soviets features previously unpublished drawings from the archive of Danzig Baldaev, alongside classic propaganda photographs made by Sergei Vasiliev for the newspaper Vercherny Chelyabinsk. Baldaev's caricatures, dating from the 1950s to the period directly before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, harshly satirise the iron rule of the Communist Party, depicting its winners and losers, its systemic corruption and stagnation, and the effects on the ordinary Soviet citizen. The drawings document the crumbling socialist structure, and the ever-increasing hardships tolerated by a population whose leaders pursued an unattainable ideal. All the horrors and absurdities of Soviet life are here, from the war in Afghanistan (The Shady Enterprise), to the drinking (Alcoholics and Shirkers), to dissent (Censorship, Paranoia and Suspicion). Vasiliev's photographs by contrast, portray the fantasy world that the Party leaders tried and failed to wish into being: one in which workers happily fulfilled their five-year plans while stirring parades of soldiers and weapons rumbled through Red Square. This book examines in fascinating detail both the official fiction and the austere reality of life under the Soviet regime.