does this soviet poster exist?
October 4, 2007 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I have heard several reference to a Soviet propaganda poster that I can't find. Maybe it's a hoax, perhaps you've seen it. You might even know where I can view it.

The poster advertises the availability of abortion in the case of unwanted pregnancy. Under that is Jesus's mother Mary, with a word balloon or caption saying something to the effect of "If only I had known!"

A professor in the mid 90's asserted that it existed, but I don't think she said that she had seen it personally. I once met a man who claimed to have seen a copy for sale in a book stall in Eastern Germany c.1993, but the conversation took place in a bar and we all know how credible bar talk is.

I can't find any discussion of it on the Internet in english, and it would be more effort than it warrants for me to try to do it in my very limited Russian. Have you seen this poster? Do you know where I can see it? Perhaps you have read about it and concluded it's a myth. Any info is appreciated.
posted by Mayor Curley to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's a reference to what you're talking about in this book, page 107, but no picture.
posted by pupdog at 9:27 AM on October 4, 2007

I was just about to post the same link. But you should be careful. This book suggests a rather different attitude to abortion. There is a lot of disinformation and plenty of urban legends.
posted by limon at 9:30 AM on October 4, 2007

I think the key to finding what you are looking for is in pupdog's link: don't look at it as "advertis[ing] the availability of abortion," look at it as an anti-religious poster. That may get you a few more hits.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:37 AM on October 4, 2007

Try locating a copy of Soviet posters: the Sergo Grigorian collection; it may be in there. There's a copy pretty close to me; I'll see about checking it out tonight to verify it's in there.
posted by cog_nate at 9:51 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's a relatively new site, but A Soviet Poster A Day might have posted it already. If not, might not hurt to contact the site owner and see if they have it.
posted by DawgterFeelgood at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have the Grigorian collection, and I browse it often. I haven't seen a poster that matches that description, but I can highly recommend the book.

I also have several rare and out-of-print poster collections, including some that are only available from Russia. I haven't seen such an image in those collections, either.
posted by fake at 10:37 AM on October 4, 2007

I haven't been able to locate it using Russian search terms (богородица, аборт, советский плакат), but I did find this charming "icon" showing the artist, Elena Stepanenko, who allegedly saved the lives of 150 passengers because she had a warning from the Virgin Mary and told the pilot to turn the plane around (the dude in her arms is Yuri Petrosyanov, a concert director who was one of the passengers). Sorry, that's not very helpful, is it?
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on October 4, 2007

Response by poster: Sorry, that's not very helpful, is it?

If I can't find the poster, something reminiscent of vintage Komar and Melamid is a nice consolation.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:08 PM on October 4, 2007

There's a Soviet poster here that has an anti-abortion message which may reflect attitudes at the time.
posted by JonB at 1:25 PM on October 6, 2007

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