10 revolutionary postcards of Imperial Russia full of blood and protest

'Greetings From The Barricades' by Tobie Mathew (Four Corners Books)
These small drawings fueled anti-tsar and anti-government protests. Here are some of brightest examples spread among the people during the 1905 Russian Revolution.

As a young visitor to Russia in early the 1990s, British writer and historian Tobie Mathew was combing through street markets packed with souvenirs from the Cold War. But among the Soviet posters and other popular symbols from the period he found anti-government postcards dating back to before the fall of the last tsar.

Mathew started collecting these rare pieces devoted to the early revolutionary movement and research their history, classifying the postcards by message and topic. The fruit of his labor is his recently published book called Greetings from the Barricades: Revolutionary Postcards in Imperial Russia (Four Corners Books).

Long before television, easy and cheap to print postcards were used to spread political messages by the tsar’s opponents. Most of them were even never sent through the post, but instead passed from hand to hand, or kept privately.

The cards show caricatures of government members and the tsar, bloody street protests, the ruthless way the government treated the people, and how slogans like “freedom of speech” were empty words.

1. Conclusion of the Oct.18 demonstration. Anonymous artist. No publication details, late 1905.

2. Bowling Alley. Anonymous artist. No publication details, late 1905.

Among those depicted are: Minister of Interior Affairs Aleksandr Bulygin, police head Dmitrii Trepov, General Aleksei Ignatiev, Prime Minister Sergei Witte, and the Ober-Procurator of the Most Holy Synod (Orthodox Church supervisor) Konstantin Pobedonostsev.

3. Untitled caricature of police head Dmitrii Trepov surmounting a pyramid of shells, late 1905. Anonymous artist. 

4. Don’t Spare the Bullets. Anonymous artist. Caricature of police head Dmitrii Trepov, circa 1905.

5. Engrossed in Reading by Author Georgii Erastov. Anonymous artist.

This is a caricature of Tsar Nicholas II first printed in St. Petersburg in November 1905.

6. Freedom of Speech. Anonymous artist. St. Petersburg, circa late 1905.

7. How Money Is Obtained Nowadays, circa 1906. Anonymous artist. 

8. Revolutionaries on the Barricades During the Moscow Uprising, late 1905. Anonymous photographer.

9. The Sun of Russian Freedom Has Been Smeared with Blood. Anonymous artist.  St. Petersburg, late 1905.

10. The Chemical Components of Russian Freedom, Anonymous artist. late 1905.

 Read more: 15 posters showing how much Russians hated each other during the Civil War

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