Suryaninov, Ruben. Greenham Common — Peace

  • A stylish and uncommon Soviet agitprop poster celebrating the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.

    During the early 1980s, in response to Soviet arms stockpiling in Eastern Europe, NATO began siting nuclear-tipped American Cruise missiles in Western Europe. In turn, the Soviet Union supported and infiltrated the growing Western anti-nuke movements, and also regularly used peace propaganda at home which positioned the US and NATO as aggressors. This particular poster, depicting two women whose clasped hands smash the perimeter fence at Greenham Common, is a excellent example of the genre and in superb condition. It was designed by the noted poster artist Ruben Suryaninov, who graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia in 1956 and specialised in public health and social subjects.

    The Greenham Common protest was established in September of 1981 by the Welsh group Women for Life on Earth, who were opposed to the deployment of nuclear tipped cruise missiles at the site. What was initially planned as a single march became a permanent protest camp, one of the most significant and longest lasting women’s protests of the 20th century. The Greenham Common camp had no hierarchy, and its nature defined by the thousands of individual women who visited when they could or lived permanently onsite for years. The activists engaged in non-violent resistance by disrupting movement in and out of the gates, cutting down portions of the fence, and trespassing on military property, and they endured frequent police raids, arrests, and evictions. A large number of the protesters were middle aged and older; they considered themselves ordinary mothers and working women, and made a point of the fact were opposed to nuclear weapons for deeply personal reasons. Their gender was crucial to their message: “a woman’s place was not in the home, but at a protest. Women could use their identity as carers and mothers to say, this is about the future safety of our children. We weaponised traditional notions of femininity” (Suzanne Moore, “How the Greenham Common Protest Changed Lives”, The Guardian, March 20th, 2017).

  • Moscow: “Poster”, October 1984.

    Mechanically printed poster (480mm x 670mm). Professionally mounted, framed, and glazed using archival materials. Illustration in blue, black and white depicting two female activists. Light rubbing and a little minor creasing at the extremities. Excellent condition.