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Russian Easter Postcards of the Early  20th Century

Russian Easter Postcards of the Early 20th Century

Alina Yartseva

February Revolution Postcards

Christ is risen. Freedom for Russia

«In the air is something festive like on Easter Sunday».
Yu. Lomonosov. «Memories of the March Revolution of 1917»

«Both in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, the population is happy and having fun like on Easter Sunday. Literally, all of them welcome the new regime and the Republic. 'Freedom! Sacred freedom!', — they shout out everywhere and sing songs everywhere».
P. Sorokin. «Dolgy put' [The Long Way]»

The February Revolution of 1917 took place in the days of Lent. It, meanwhile, often had associations with Easter for the overjoyed participants and eyewitnesses. This was recorded in the diaries and memoirs of the time, and found reflection in literature, for instance, in A. Solzhenitsyn's «Red Wheel». The situation is now the subject of analysis for contemporary researchers.

'Contemporaries compared the Revolution to the "revival", "raising", "resurrection" of Russia and its people. <…> The grand overturn was compared with (and sometimes was seen as) Easter. <…>Easter rituals were often used by the contemporaries to express their attitude to what was happening. <…> But if the revolution was often compared to Easter, Easter was also compared with the revolution. Even Easter cards with both typical and politically actual congratulations "Christ is risen. Long live the Republic" were sold. <…> Congratulations <…> on Easter were political this year. Sometimes, the holiday was called the "great double Resurrection"', – Doctor of Historical Sciences B. Kolonitsky wrote in the book «Power Symbols and the Struggle for Power»(2001). 

Christ is risen. Long live the Republic!

'The atmosphere in the church was revolutionary, terrible… To the greeting "Christ is risen!", among the humming of the voices "He is risen, indeed!", one called out: "Russia is risen!'».
Metropolitan Eulogy (Georgievsky). «The Path of my Life»

B. Kolonitsky observed that in the days of the February Revolution, symbols of Orthodox Easter was «revolutionized», and the expression «red Easter» took on a specific meaning. Only a few years later, in the mid-1920s, the phrase «red Easter» will be associated with anti-Easter books published broadly by the central and local publishing houses, as well as with mocking performances – «Young Communists' Easters». On the other hand, the Day of the 1st May pretended to be the «red proletarian Easter»: Demian Bedny's poem of the same title was printed on the front page of the official newspaper of the Soviet Union «Pravda ("Truth")».

In 1923, «Pravda» issued the leading article on Easter eve, returning to the rhetoric of the spring of 1917: «Our country is revived». However, the background of this statement is already quite different: «By force of the thousand-year habit, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. This resurrection has never been <…>. What should we think when believers greet each other <…>? How shall we interpret the two letters "RC"?» (The editorial board transposed the letters in the usual abbreviation of the Easter greeting «Christ is Risen»). Answering this difficult question, the newspaper gave the following response in the name of the builders of a new life, «Resurrection of the Country we celebrate today».

Christ is risen. [Graphic Material] : Freedom of Russia : post cards. - [Without place : without publisher, 1917]. - 1 sheet : colour lithograph; 13,7х9,1 cm
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Christ is risen. [Graphic Material] : Long live the Republic! : post cards. - [Without place : without publisher, 1917]. - 1 sheet : colour lithograph; 13,9х9 cm
View in the Digital Library