How did I come across the posters...

I was in Russia many times. That is one of the most exotic countries, people are so interesting and different, and - there are so many mountains, rivers, glaciers, volcanoes, lakes... Or take St. Petersburg. A town that makes you feel very uneasy, some mystical and magical dimension to it, but you cannot leave, something is strongly making you to stay... Take small Russian towns that have never seen a tourist. Muddy streets, big run down local kremlins with jackdaws living in the hedge, kind people.

I used to live in a country that was occupied and controlled by the Soviets for many years. We have encountered the horror and terror of soviet rule. Nobody in the country liked Russians.

Once I have started travelling to the former Soviet union, I have realized that Russian people are not demons - there are many kind and nice people too. The nation as a whole probably does have some treats that allowed for such a long dictatorship, for the rule of propaganda, for all the cruelty of the soviet system. Or was it mostly just a matter of unlucky historical events that caused the whole tragedy?

And once, still during the Socialist era, I found the posters. Such a frank, strong propaganda. It was obvious that most Russians honestly believed those messages!

I felt that was something unique so I tried to find and buy as many as I could. The hardest part was to ship them out of the country. International shipping almost noexistent, "red flags" everywhere. I was not sure at all if the shipments will ever arrive. In addition to it, I didn't have the required permits to travel within Soviet Union, left alone the fact that I was, actualy, conducting business...

In some places, shop clerks (and postal employees) were simply frightened from this unusual activity of mine, and refused to cooperate at all, told me to go somewhere else. In other places, they put a sign into the door saying: "today closed for sanitation", and went to their basements to search for posters for me...

Posters get pretty heavy. Especially if there are no means of transportation other than foot and train... and if the clerks refuse to mail Your package  for some subjective fears and You have to try Your luck in another town...

It was quite a good idea to get the posters then since later on, the soviet government decided that the posters are not timely anymore and that they should be destroyed. And just as massive operation as the printing was, the same applied to the destroing. Very few posters were saved since nobody there realized that they have any value. As a matter of fact, when I was buying them, virtually all the people who saw me thought that I was a complete fool... WHY on earth are you buying them?? We used to see them everywhere and we are sick of them!

I will hopefully travel some more and in every country, I will be looking for posters. The first country where I have done just that was Cuba. There, too, the posters are disappearing so quickly... that I came almost too late...

I got quite a few stories from Cuba too. I SAILED there on my own old sailboat [that I bought a few years before for $300 and I have fixed her up]. Cuba is so exotic and beautiful! Thousands of quiet little islands, with mountains of unseen crazy shapes on the horizon. And the cities! Cars from the 50's, still running, everything is ancient, world so different You would never believe You are some 90 miles from Florida...  Once the border will open all the charm will, quite likely, disappear and we will have another Florida...

Not everything was easy there, since one "friend" have stolen from us not only a videocamera [incl. shots of posters], all the money, passports with visas, but also our friendly dog.

And having no visa, it got much harder to go on shore. We became prisoners on our boat... The Cuban officials just would not allow us to go ashore, not even to get food, not even in tiny ports in tiny villages. Locals were so nice though, they were bringing us fish and rice with beans. They would never take any money from us.

Quite desperate, we tried to anchor our boat in remote, uninhabited areas, and to sneak ashore. Especially on the northern side, Cubans have a system of local observers - designated villagers sit on a hill, watch the gulf, and report any boats. They also have system of radars in force. So, it seldom took more than a few hours until a patrol boat found us and told us we have to keep on sailing...

We couldn't even fix the boat properly after landing on a coral reef [which we managed to survive, even though coral heads were popping in the bilge!], so on the way to Mexiko, the first bigger storm caused the boat [trimaran] to break in half....

We got rescued by some fishermen, along with the posters...  I was throwing the rolls of posters from the damaged boat to the hands of fishermen, not being able to get too close to their boat, huge waves, wind and rain...  Let me tell You, these posters have some history behind them!

Soviet Posters 1

Soviet posters 2

Soviet posters 3

Soviet posters 4

Soviet posters 5

Soviet posters 6

Cuban posters 1 - political posters

Cuban posters 2 - movie posters

Polish, Czech and other posters

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Russian posters 7

Chinese posters

Vintage posters

Bob Marley

Antique Russian

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