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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.

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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.

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.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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