The Soviet Union is famous for its powerful propaganda, and Pavlik Morozov represents it perfectly. The story goes that Pavlik was a young boy who reported his father to the authorities for hoarding grain during the time of Stalin’s collective farming. He was killed for these actions and viewed as a hero of the state, standing up for Communism and the Soviet Union even if it cost him his life. Although it was later discovered that this story was false, and that Pavlik was not the angelic boy that he was made out to be, the story itself and what it represents are the important aspects of this case of propaganda.
Pavlik was known ubiquitously throughout the Soviet Union, and appeared in classrooms and everyday conversations. His story was known as the “cornerstone” for Soviet power and control. Children aspired to be like him because of his commitment to the state. His actions showed that at the end of the day, nothing is as important as the state—not even family. He loved communism so much that he betrayed his family and sacrificed his life, which was the ultimate display of commitment. This particular example of propaganda became very powerful—there were statues erected, books written, and songs sung about him. Whether or not the story was true never mattered; what mattered was the icon that Pavlik became and the values that he represented.
Pavlik was great and effective Soviet propaganda because it was not as overt as the other propaganda used. Images of Lenin and Stalin, a red background, and the hammer and sickle come to mind when Soveit propaganda is brought up, but Pavlik was the opposite. It was discreet propaganda, disguised behind a story that could have happened (again, whether it really did was irrelevant.) It inspired young children to want to be like him, and continue the strong commitment to Communist values. It’s fascinating how one young boy became such an icon, especially because of something he probably did not even do.