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4 Vintage Russian Circus Posters

Vintage Russian Circus Posters

Posted on March 29, 2014 by tim


I have here a collection of vintage Russian circus posters and wonder if other are as interested in them as I am. In my opinion, in the Soviet past the circuses could be sort of little islands of freedom, especially in the early Soviet years. They offered entertainment (and entertainments were controlled by the state, at the time), they travelled to different cities (and wandering around without a fixed place of residence was considered a crime, as far as I recall). I tried to research a little, and it seems that there are more people sharing the same opinion – like Olga Sviblova, the head of the art and multimedia museum in Moscow, quoted as saying that “Circus and sports were the only two spots in Soviet 1930s that had freedom”. And so the vintage Russian circus posters to me look different to most of the other Soviet posters – both propaganda and advertisement. I find the circus posters much more vivid and real in detail. So here they are:

These first two posters advertise the shows by Durov, one of the dynasty of Durovs – the famous Russian circus performers and clowns (in the good sense of this word). This particular Vladimir Durov had dropped out of school in favor of joining a circus. As the sources say, he was fond of animals from an early age and based his circus performances around animals, pioneering in petting and making the animals perform complex tricks, reportedly not basing his obedience training on the use of force but rather on using treats.

And this poster advertises… well, black men. They use the “n” word to tell people that there is an operetta with black singers, for the first time in the world. I don’t think they used this word to treat people badly, more probably because it was the only word they could think of to call dark skinned people at that time.

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4 Responses to “Vintage Russian Circus Posters”

  1. BHC says:

    It says “Negro” not the N word. Negro does not have the same negative connotations as the infamous N word.

    • MAXDMG says:

      In the former USSR countries the word Negro does not carry a negative connotation. Black don’t be offended, because he is black (negro), just skin color not more. This is not racism, but a fact, say the Russian Federation is a multiethnic country, so that the West would still tolerance she will learn.

  2. Very cool says:

    Thanks very much for this.

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