My Perestroika

PBS Premiere: June 28, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

The Propaganda State


"Propaganda is far more important in the Soviet Union than in the United States or any Western country. One reason being that the Soviet Union [at the beginning] was an illiterate peasant society which was trying to make the leap to socialism. Propaganda is very important for illiterate societies — societies that can only respond to images."
— Abbott Gleason, Keeney Professor of History Emeritus, Brown University

Note: This slideshow features only a sampling of Soviet propaganda from the 20th century. To learn more about propaganda in the Soviet Union, you can read Professor Abbott Gleason's essay that accompanied the "Views and Re-Views: Soviet Politcal Posters and Cartoons, Then and Now" exhibition at the David Winston Bell Gallery at Brown University. To view more posters, visit the Soviet Propaganda Poster Gallery or

Abbott GleasonAbbott Gleason is a long-time member of the Watson Institute for International Studies' administration and faculty at Brown University, as a professor for more than 30 years. He served as the Institute's director from 1999 to 2000, and has held other positions including associate director, director for university relations and special projects, and senior fellow. He is the former chair of Brown's History Department and a former director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He is editor of A Companion to Russian History (Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2009) and author of a memoir, A Liberal Education (TidePool Press, 2009). He co-edited with Martha Nussbaum Nineteen Eighty-Four: George Orwell and Our Future (Princeton University Press, 2005) and Nikita Khrushchev (Yale University Press, 2000), with Sergei Khrushchev and William Taubman.