Your Hump-Day Recess: More Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Posters

Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Poster: "The Price of a Glass"
“The Price of a Glass”

Russia’s relationship to alcohol is a curious one. The government instituted prohibition in 1914, yet alcoholism remained rampant. Eventually the state took over production of alcohol, even as it promoted temperance. It wasn’t until Khruschchev that a real struggle against alcohol and drunk driving began in the late 1950s, with limited success. Then Mikhail Gorbachev made the issue of alcoholism the government’s first priority. In addition to restricting the amount of alcohol sold and the times and places it could  be consumed, the Soviet government used one of its favorite media – the propaganda poster – to get across the idea that drinking and driving were harming society, commerce, and the country in general.

Soviet anti drunk driving poster: "Drunkenness - No!"
“Drunkenness – No!”

Alas, the campaign was a bust. In fact, one of its unexpected effects was a serious shortage of sugar, since illicit home distillers needed it to make moonshine. Drinking continued, and so did drunk driving.

Soviet anti drunk driving poster: "Don't Drink!"
“Don’t Drink!”

The standard approaches to the offense – license suspension, jail, and fines – do not work well, since drinking is so entrenched in the culture. Perhaps it’s time to introduce the ignition interlock to Russia and the other former Soviet republics.

What remains of Gorbachev’s good intentions are the posters, fine examples of Soviet graphic design that were asked to do a job that no poster could do on its own.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.
Previous Hump Days: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, the world’s worst traffic jams, a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, the world’s worst car modification, Vince and Larry, our favorite crash test dummies, a karaoke microphone breathalyzer, and extraterrestrial advice on drunk driving