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From Communism to Anti-Communism

 | 
Andre Liebich
, 
Svetlana Yakimovich

Anti-communism in the Cold War

Dictionnaire soviétique illustré, Tome IV

Joël Kotek

Texte intégral

The first page reads in French: “Dictionnaire soviétique illustré. Tome IV. Moscou” –[“Illustrated Soviet Dictionary. Volume IV. Moscow”]. The second page reads: “Balivernes” – [“Nonsense”]. The third page reads: ”Propagande”. The fourth page reads: “Peuple souverain” – [“Sovereign people”]. Black and white leaflet, printed by Paix et Liberté [s.d.]; 5 x 19.5 cm.

1This comic strip, like several others in the series, underscores the profound contradictions of the Soviet state. The USSR presented itself in the best colors possible. It claimed to be pacifist even as it was warmongering; it declared that it was the fatherland of the workers even as it muzzled trade unions; it asserted that it stood for the right of self-determination even as it repressed the least manifestations of independence within its border as within its empire; it stated that it was democratic but rejected the very idea of free elections. The list goes on.

2The vignettes here refer most probably to the obstructive attitude of Andrei Gromyko, a diplomat who in the post-war years occupied the Soviet seat on the Security Council as his country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, was later longtime Soviet foreign minister (1957-1985) and, in his last years, the ceremonial head of state of the Soviet Union. Known as “Mr. Nyet,” because of the Soviet propensity to use its vetoes against Security Council proposals, Gromyko was, in fact, a skillful negotiator and proved that he had the talent to defend the worst aspects of Soviet foreign policy, notably North Korea’s mendacious affirmations.

3The cartoon mocks Soviet dismissal of American arguments at the UN as “nonsense” and portrays Gromyko’s own interventions as “propaganda.” Gromyko would appear to be picking his nose or making a rude gesture during the American speech. The French representative seated between the Soviet and the American representatives is equally subdued during both speeches suggesting that France does not have the courage to take sides, although it did participate in the UN Expeditionary Force in Korea. The last vignette depicts a hefty and triumphant Stalin in full military regalia, whip in hand, riding roughshod over a suffering peasant, whether of a Soviet or Central and East European nationality, with the bitterly ironic title “sovereign people.”

Bibliographie

Dominique Desanti, Les Staliniens : une expérience politique 1944-1956, Paris : Fayard, 1975.

Table des illustrations

Légende The first page reads in French: “Dictionnaire soviétique illustré. Tome IV. Moscou” –[“Illustrated Soviet Dictionary. Volume IV. Moscow”]. The second page reads: “Balivernes” – [“Nonsense”]. The third page reads: ”Propagande”. The fourth page reads: “Peuple souverain” – [“Sovereign people”]. Black and white leaflet, printed by Paix et Liberté [s.d.]; 5 x 19.5 cm.
URL http://books.openedition.org/iheid/docannexe/image/6656/img-1.jpg
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