The fact that the Museum of Communism in Prague is next to a casino and above a McDonald’s burger restaurant is an ironic “thumbing one’s nose” at the oppressors who kept the Czech Republic under nearly a half century of totalitarian rule. The museum, which has as its slogan “Communism: The Dream, the Reality, the Nightmare,” is dedicated to relating what daily life was like living behind the Iron Curtain, right up to the Velvet Revolution that led to the overthrow of the Communist government in 1989. It includes everything from video clips, Soviet memorabilia, and a replica of a Soviet interrogation room.
As educational and serious as that subject is, the Museum of Communism promotes itself with wry humor, offering a vast collection of well-designed posters done in vintage style. In addition to a Russian nesting doll with a shark-like grin, there are Soviet propaganda broadsides for the masses, an Andy Warhol-style portrait of Khrushchev, and a Soviet soldiers knock-off of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover, among others. What better way to celebrate freedom than poking fun at the bad old days.