Saturday, December 21, 2013

Once upon a time....

Once upon a time, there was GDR, the German Democratic Republic or East Germany. This country existed between 1949 to 1990. It’s a well known fact that the Russians ruled this part of the country which was formed by them only after the WW 2.
How did they rule it? What were their goals and achievements? Were the people happy and prosperous during their rule?
The communists were better known for keeping the iron curtain upon their country. They showed their region to the world what they wanted to show. And for this purpose, there were many magazines and journals published to create, maintain and develop their clean and developmental image.
The reality came into limelight after 1990, with the fall of Russian Union.
We do remember many types of magazines published and delivered at our home during ‘70s and ‘80s like ‘Soviet Land’, “Soviet Desh’, ‘Soviet Naari’ etc. Even wonder today how its sales channel would have been organized. These were all the propaganda magazines which were projecting the false picture of the country so as it look real. America, too was in it and it had ‘Span’ magazine. But the Russians were much expert and ahead in it. They had ‘kontakt’ magazine from GDR which was a ‘youth magazine’.
Just have a look upon the pages here which are from various issue of ‘kontakt’ magazine and appreciate the art of lying. Yes, the production, layout and presentation is worth appreciating. 

The cover page of a 1981 issue of Kontakt- a 'feelgood' photograph. 

The index usually contain a quote from a present Russian dignitary. This is from another issue with Prez Brezhnev saying at 26th Congres of the CPSU, "At present there is no more essential international task facing our party, our people and indeed all peoples on our planet than to maintain peace." Ah! Those were the days of cold war.

Surprised? They believed in dialogue, too? This was a regular feature: "In dialogue with our readers".

How would a stamp collector forget those attractive, colorful stamps with 'DDR' written on it? This, too, was regular feature in 'Kontakt'.

See the heading. 'Manipulation or information?' In this article on the role of media, there is a line: 'In order to be deemed noteworthy by the Western media a story must be anticommunist, sensational or at least promosing of a fair profit.' Such features were regular in generally with white letters in black background.

And this was perhaps the key section usually seen in the last pages. After going through the colorful, impressive presentation of the country, any youngster would love to be in touch with the one from the country. Hence this 'Pen pals wanted'.

The heading is self-explanatory. Irrespective of who make the history, it matters more who writes the history, who twists the history. Were the guys or gals featured here real ones who make the history?

'Documentary Survey' was also a regular feature with black back ground. It mostly says something about the weapons. It also carries a saying from the 'Capital (Karl Marx) on the right page. This particular feature is about 'Weapons for China'. Wonder if it is to warn or to frighten or to justify the country's position.

When did the 'kontakt' magazine stop publishing? Surprisingly, the Google doesn't show any information regarding this magazine. But it can be safely presumed that it must have been stopped after the merger of both the Germany i.e. in 1990. And with the merger, the reality must have been in front of the eyes.

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