ROSTA Windows were the first soviet propaganda posters. They appeared mostly on shop windows in Moscow, St Petersburg, Odessa and other towns of Russia between September 1919 – February 1922.
The posters were initiated by the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA), a news agency of the Bolsheviks, and proved to be a highly effective means of spreading news, government decrees, and instructions in times of war and reconstruction when there was an overall shortage of paper and funds.
The posters were hand-painted usually in a comic strip format by several graphic artists that worked in the ROSTA network and then rapidly stencil-replicated and distributed around the country.
The illustrations were simple, grotesque and satirical to reach the large semi-literate public around the country.
The style of the posters was created by Vladimir Mayakovsky who was a single most active contributor with over 3,000 graphs and 9/10 of all the captions. He said:
“It meant a nation of 150 million being served by hand by a small group of painters”
“It meant news being sent by telegram, immediately translated into posters, decrees into couplets. It meant the Red Army men looking at posters before battle and going to fight not with a prayer but with a slogan on their lips.”
– Vladimir Mayakovksy