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The Personality Cult of Stalin in Soviet Posters, 1929–1953


This research began as PhD research in the School of Art History and Curatorship at The Australian National University (ANU). I would like to gratefully acknowledge the expert guidance and support of my thesis supervisor, Professor Sasha Grishin, throughout the three years of my research, as well as from the other members of my supervisory panel, Dr Andrew Montana and Dr Kevin Windle. Professor Grishin has been generous with his time and knowledge, and managed to make me laugh at times when I thought I had forgotten how. Dr Windle assisted with some of the translations of the ‘curlier’ Russian captions and Dr Kirill Nourzhanov assisted with the translation of the Uzbek poster captions. Thanks are also due to Dr Zoja Bojic and to Margaret Travers.

The staff of the graphics department at the Russian State Library in Moscow were very helpful and hospitable during my two periods of fieldwork, and I would particularly like to thank Dr Liubov Rodionova for facilitating my research at the library, the legendary Nina Baburina for her assistance in targeting folders containing Stalin posters, and Dr Svetlana Artamonova for her assistance in gaining access to other relevant library holdings and her willingness to answer my queries and discuss various aspects of my research. Dr Olga Litvinova was extremely helpful at the Museum of Contemporary History in Moscow, granting me access to all posters in the collection that contain an image of Stalin. Svetlana Khrodakovskaia was happy to discuss with me the poster collection at the Museum of Political History in St Petersburg.

Dr Liudmila Riabova of the History Department at the St Petersburg State University provided assistance by facilitating my participation in the ‘Russia’s statehood: The authorities and society across the twentieth century’ conference at which I was able to present some of my research findings and discuss them with scholars from a number of academic disciplines. I am particularly indebted to Svetlana Petrova for her assistance in the presentation of my conference paper. I am also grateful to Dr Tatiana Tabolina of the Russian Academy of Sciences for her interest in, and encouragement of, my research and for her feedback.

I thank the dedicated librarians at the National Gallery of Australia Research Library, ANU libraries, the National Library of Australia and the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne. I would like to particularly thank staff at the Chifley Library at ANU for answering my queries concerning interlibrary loans and for assisting me to access a variety of materials that have proved invaluable to my research.

I am grateful to my colleagues in Art History at ANU for their helpful comments and critiques of oral presentations of my research at our regular gatherings and for providing a wonderful milieu in which to work.

This research and my fieldwork and conference attendance in Russia were made possible through the financial support provided by the Australian National University Postgraduate Award and ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences research support fund. The publication of this book has been supported by the generous financial and professional assistance provided by ANU Centre for European Studies Publishing Prize – I am particularly grateful to Christine Huber of the Humanities and Creative Arts Editorial Board for guiding me through this process. Special thanks also go to my eagle-eyed editor, Justine Molony, for her excellent and professional work in editing the manuscript. I would like to acknowledge the assistance and professionalism of the team at ANU Press — especially Emily Tinker, Publications Coordinator, for her expertise in the publication process; and Teresa Prowse, Digital Design/Publishing Officer, for her excellent design of the cover and layout.

No prolonged project is possible without the support of family and friends. Sputi Piosik has been unwavering in his friendship and merry spirit. My long-suffering family have put up with my bouts of irritability and anxiety and offered constant support and love. My mother is, as always, my rock and, along with David, Theresa and Alana, have never faltered in their belief in me. My father, the first in our family to receive a PhD, was always a role model of scholarly courage and sadly passed away before I completed my research. I know he was delighted I was following my dream.

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