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Krokodil Magazine

In 2014-15, I was working on a 12-book series of books "History Through the Eyes of Krokodil magazine, the XX century" as an art director. The project was at attempt at a conversation about the XXth century based on a huge archive of the Soviet satirical magazine "Krokodil" (1922-1992). The archive had oodles of pictures depicting everything in the Soviet life, from eye-candy street scenes to eye-popping propaganda. Each chapter in our books contained a gallery of caricatures and genre scenes from the magazine, dedicated to a certain topic: children of the revolution, new women, proletarian glamour, etc. Here are some of my illustrations opening the galleries of authentic drawings from the archive.

PROLETARIAN GLAMOUR. This illustration opened the gallery of drawings and caricatures depicting the way Soviet people dressed in the 20s and 30s.

THE NEW NEW WORLD opens the gallery of drawings depicting people's hopes and dreams after the revolution.

WOMEN. After the revolution the Soviet propaganda was trying to push 'the new woman' out of home and into the factories. The resulting situation was that she had to bear the brunt of both house- and factory work, and was stigmatised (if not beaten up) for being 'narrow-minded', 'petty bourgeoise' or just getting in the way.

DAY-TO-DAY LIFE. Opens a gallery of scenes depicting everyday life – neighbours quarrelling, no hot water, hellish housework, street life, pastimes, etc.

ANIMALS gallery united pictures with animals serving as metaphors of everything evil, repulsive and stupid, depicting enemies of Soviet revolution and proletariat. In a word, we reviewed how animals were serving propagandistic purposes in a Soviet satirical magazine.

FOREIGN HELL. Cultivating 'the image of the enemy' was in the heart of the Soviet propaganda. The enemy would change through the decades, but in this timespan (1922-38) the major enemies were a Priest, a Kulak, and a Capitalist, that lived in a far-far land of Evil.

GOOD LIFE. Apart from explaining how bad capitalism is, people had to be persuaded how wonderful communism is. In this gallery we collected pictures of burgeoning "social realism".

SEX ISSUES. This illustration opens the feature on sexual revolution, which happened soon after the socialist revolution in the USSR. In a nutshell, the idea was that Soviet people needed all their energy to build the wonderful new world of equality, liberty and brotherhood. It's too much trouble to digress from the bright communist future in order to court a woman or even woo her just for sex. Sex should be served like a glass of water. 'Komsomolka' should understand - a 'komsomolets' has more important stuff to attend to than all this bouquet-ice cream nuisance. Sex becomes something like a duty to motherland and communist party, along with keeping the body healthy and strong to be capable of labour feats. The slogans in the illustration are a tongue-in-the-cheek wordplay with sexual connotations poking fun at Soviet propaganda rhetorics of the period.

ART illustration for the gallery of images depicting art and culture life of the era. Famous paintings of the time all feature a crocodile because that was the character, impersonating the magazine.