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Enemies of the People

In order to successfully define the good and the bad, propaganda artists had to find a way to separate heroes from villains. In the symbolism of propaganda, villains came to include relics of the old regime (tsarist officials, factory owners, priests) as well as those who would undermine socialism in its new establishment (kulaks — affluent peasants who were seen as hoarding their wealth — and shirkers). These insidious enemies of progress were also implicitly associated with the old regime; they were represented as petty capitalist exploiters and religious believers who dodged their duties so as to (decadently) observe religious holidays. Another popular trope was the priest parasitically living off of the parish, holding the people, especially women, back from their full potential by clouding their minds with the fear of God. For their refusal to let go of their pre-revolutionary ways, these types were labeled byuvshie liudi, "former people," antitheses of the novyi chelovek, "new person," whom the Soviets were attempting to create. Victoria Bonnell refers to the process of classifying enemies as Soviet "demonology." Propaganda typified evil behavior in order to turn people against those who were wealthy, religious, opposed to Collectivization, or otherwise a danger to society.

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