Propaganda posters have always been associated with conflict, and the war in Ukraine with Russia is no different. Several artists have taken to social media to share works that in various ways push back against the invasion of Ukraine. The art express a range of emotions, from defiance to a hope for peace.
Propaganda posters are a useful tool to generate and reinforce support for a cause. And they can often motivate fence-sitters to rally around a worthy cause. They offer a sense of being part of a joint action, a feeling of solidarity, and allow those looking in from afar to share emotionally in the struggle. They can also effectively move people to action. Be it directly, by motivating people to take up arms for self defense, or indirectly, by getting foreign citizens to call on their government to offer financial or material support.
Because many of these images from Ukraine come from a place of desperation or hope, it may seem harsh to call them propaganda. The term has a negative connotation, but wrongly so. Propaganda posters have always been used to pull at the heart strings and reinforce emotions. There is nothing wrong with that, and they’re a useful tool for creating a feeling of hope and inspiring those actively engaged in a struggle.
Most of these images are not posters in the literal sense. But surely works of art posted to social media serve the same purpose today as a silk-screened poster did during WWII.
The images I’ve been able to locate on Instagram fall into a few broad categories: Highlighting atrocities, defiance of Russia and calls for peace.
Perhaps the most emotionally charged images are those that point out atrocities committed during the invasion.
Defiance and Resistance
The majority of images I ran across expressed a strong will to resist the Russian invasion.
Calls for Peace
We'll finish with the posters that offer a hope for peace.
Propaganda posters from WWI and WWII