Thank You Dear Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood!


Cover of the Russian children’s magazine Muzilka, 1949

After a grand celebration of Joseph Stalin’s birthday in 1929, the Soviet leader’s image and name permeated Soviet culture until his death in 1953. The Soviet press showered him with praise as an all-powerful and beloved leader.

Images of Stalin with children became a key component of his personality cult. In 1935, the phrase “Thank You Dear Comrade Stalin for a Happy Childhood!" adorned the doorways of nurseries, orphanages, and schools. Stalin further spread his cult by indoctrinating the youth of Soviet Russia through the Komsomol, the All-Union Leninist Communist League of Youth, formed in 1918.


Long Live the Komsomol!, Alexander Samokhvalov, 1924, Nabb Research Center, SC2020.05

The term “cult of personality” was popularized by Nikita Khrushchev when he gave his speech “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences” in 1956. Referred to as the “secret speech,” it criticized the god-like reverence of Stalin and other leaders as anti-Marxist. When the speech was eventually made public, it led to the dismantling of Stalin’s influence and image on Soviet society, or de-Stalinization.

Cult of Personality
Happy Childhood