Wassilij Jakowlew’s Portrait of Georgy Zhukov (1946) exemplifies the bombastic style of Stalinist socialist realism of the 1940s and early 1950s, characterized by academic technique, monumental classicism, and an emphasis on heroic portrayals of Communist Party leaders. In the aftermath of the “Great Patriotic War” (the term used by Russians to refer to World War II), nationalism and patriotism were among the chief concerns of party propaganda: in 1946, the Soviet Union reaffirmed its commitment to the “Zhdanov Doctrine,” wherein the world was seen as divided into two camps: imperialistic (United States) and democratic (Soviet Union). This prompted a second wave of cultural purges, to eliminate any traces of “foreign” influence in Soviet art, while proliferating triumphant images of Soviet victory during the war. Here, Jakowlew used the equestrian portrait, a traditional symbol of power and military greatness: General Zhukov, a Soviet military commander who had played a decisive role in the Battle of Berlin, is depicted on a rearing white steed, trampling a pile of fallen Nazi standards amid the flaming ruins of the German capital. Though exacting in its naturalism – Jakowlew had been a restorer of “old master” paintings in the national collections – the painting is far from an accurate portrayal of the war, because socialist realism was less concerned with fidelity to portraying events as they had actually occurred than with depicting how they should be understood. Monumental in both theme and size, Jakowlew portrays Zhukov as a larger-than-life figure, embodying the spirit of Soviet military might.