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P Letunov: Either, Or (text on bottle reads: Vodka), 1983

Work / Graphic Design

New publication chronicles Soviet anti-alcohol posters throughout the ages

Alcohol is a new publication from Fuel that presents a comprehensive collection of previously unpublished Soviet anti-alcohol posters. The book covers designs produced from the 1960s to the 80s with a particular focus on images created during the Gorbachev years. The posters were displayed in public places and served as information posters warning against the social and personal effects of alcohol and alcoholism.

Compiled, edited and designed by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell, Alcohol includes two essays titled Surviving Gorbachev’s Prohibition and The origins and significance of alcoholism in Russia written by Alexi Plutser-Sarno. The 248-page book takes an alternative look at end of a political era. Each poster is translated with slogans such as “Little by little you end up with a hooligan” accompanied with graphics that include red-nosed and bleary eyed cartoon characters and hard hitting constructivist-style compositions.

The book comes with a lenticular cover that animates one of the designs, and the launch coincides with an exhibition of the posters at Pushkin House, London, opening on the 23 March.

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A Ordinatsev, 1981: Special clothes, or overalls can’t disguise alcohol. Don’t try and get it into the workshop – don’t slip it past security!

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I M Maistrovsky, 1977: Don’t drink your life away

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I Fridman, 1977: Vodka has brought much evil and wrongdoing to the family

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V Zharinov, 1977: Drunkenness will not be tolerated!

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V Briskin, 1963: Don’t Wreck Yourself

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E Bor, 1985: We will overcome! Alcoholism

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V O Pashenko, 1981: This is a shameful union – a slacker and vodka

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O K Kohan, 1986: To your sort, we say: “Enough! There’s no place for you at the planet!”

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Fuel: Alcohol cover