Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge

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The initial poster

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (Russian: Клином красным бей белых!, Klinom krasnym bey belykh!) is a 1919[1] lithographic Soviet propaganda poster by artist El Lissitzky, "the man through whose exertions the new Russian ideas became generally understood in Western Europe".[2] In the poster, the intrusive red wedge symbolizes the Bolsheviks, who are penetrating and defeating their opponents, the White movement, during the Russian Civil War. It is an example of Constructivism.

The image became popular in the West when Lissitzky moved to Germany in 1921. It is considered symbolic of the Russian Civil War in Western publications.

Modern use[edit]

A simplified version lacking the smaller details is used by the Peacekeepers in the television series Farscape.

The Slabinja Monument to the fallen fighters and victims of WWII fascism from Slabinja, Croatia, seems to be directly inspired by this poster.[3]

English doom metal band Witchfinder General employ the red wedge motif in the artwork accompanying their 1982 EP Soviet Invasion, and The Wake used the artwork for their twelve-inch single "Something Outside" in 1983.[4] A similar simplified version (rotated 1/4 turn clockwise) was appropriated by the German post-punk band Mekanik Destruktiw Komandoh (MDK) for their 1983 12" single "Berlin", released on the sixth international label.

Several German-speaking Marxist organizations are using a simplified version of the poster for their logo, among them the German/Austrian/Swiss section of the International Marxist Tendency ("Der Funke")[5] and "Gruppen gegen Kapital und Nation".[6]

Franz Ferdinand used the image as inspiration for the cover of their single "This Fire".[7]

The logo and the name was used by a socialist music and arts organisation in the UK, Red Wedge, which campaigned against the Thatcher government in the lead up to the 1987 general election.

The Russian artist Sergei Bugaev produced an "Anti-Lissitzky" series between 1991 and 1995 which included several derivative works based on "Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge".[8]

Belarusian football team FC Vitebsk released a kit featuring the image in 2020.[9]

The poster was drawn as hanging on a wall in a 1995 poster created by Gabor Baksay.[10]

In September 2021, a modified version of this painting was used in Novosibirsk to promote vaccination against the COVID-19.[11]


  1. ^ Johanna, Drucker; McVarish, Emily (2009). Graphics design history: A critical guide. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Graphics design history: A critical guide. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-13-241075-5.
  2. ^ George Heard Hamilton. Painting and sculpture in Europe, 1880–1940. p. 317
  3. ^ Horvatinčić, Sanja (2017). Spomenici iz razdoblja socijalizma u Hrvatskoj – prijedlog tipologije (info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis) (in Croatian). Zadar: Sveučilište u Zadru. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  4. ^ "• The Design Appropriations of Punk and the New Wave". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06.
  5. ^ "Der Funke". Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  6. ^ "Gruppen gegen Kapital und Nation". Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  7. ^ "F2 — Franz Ferdinand". Band Logo Juke Box. 2020-05-20.
  8. ^ "Sergey Bugaev-Afrika". VLADEY. Vladey. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Belarusian football team releases new kit inspired by avant-garde artwork".
  10. ^ "Beim nächsten Werbeblock hau ich dir eine rein!".
  11. ^ "Авангардные плакаты с красным клином зовут новосибирцев на вакцинацию" (in Russian). 2021-09-07. Archived from the original on 2022-01-04.

External links[edit]