Without fanfare, official Soviet Photographs are purged of the image of anyone who has fallen from official favor, especially those murdered for political reasons.

Lenin and Trotsky celebrate the second anniversary of the Russian Revoloution in Red Square.   Lenin Celebrates, but Trotsky has been airbrushed out.
Trotsky and Lenin (top center of stairs) in 1919 photograph of a Red Square celebration is of the anniversary of the revolution. To make it suitable for a 1967 book of Lenin Photos, Trotsky is removed.


Lenin addresses the troops, May 5, 1920 with Trotsky in foreground.   Lenin addresses the troops, but Trotsky is airbrushed out.
This is one of the earliest and most famous examples of Stalinist retouching. Trotsky not only becomes a pest to budding Soviet communism, but he is a pesky presence in many photographs of significance to Lenin's history, like this one is taken in front of Moscow's Bolshoi Theater in 1920. With Lenin as he rallies the troops to fight Poland is Trotsky (in uniform beside the wooden pulpit). This photograph comes to be a symbol of revolutionary Russia, but after Trotsky's downfall he has to go. His image is removed from all widely distributed reproductions.




The Commissar Vanishes
Communism and Propaganda
The News in Russia
Reinventing the Bolsheviks
Stalin Controls his Image
The Art of Deception
The Soviet Message
Death is Not the End