Voices from Russia

Thursday, 6 April 2017

6 April 2017. Today is the World Day of Animation… Greetings from the Evil Empire!


Some of the most iconic Sov-era multifilm characters are in the above image. In the centre, of course, is Kot Leopold (Leopold the Cat)… there’s also the Wolf and the Hare from Nu Pogodi (Just You Wait)… Krokodil Gena (Gena the Crocodile) and Cheburashka… the Bremen Town Musicians… just to name a few. The standard of Soviet animation was very high… perhaps, better on average than that found in the USA. There was no profit motive involved, therefore, the artistic standards came first, not commercial greed…

Now, what was Potapov saying about the evil empire? It looks like he misidentified it… yes… its capital is on the banks of the Potomac…



Tuesday, 19 February 2013

19 February 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. I Christen Thee Chebarkul!

00 Sergei Yolkin. I Christen Thee Chebarkul! 2013

I Christen Thee Chebarkul!

Sergei Yolkin



Of course, a literal translation was impossible here. A “чемодан” is a suitcase and a “чебурек” is a traditional Tatar food (click here for a description). Therefore, I chose “carry-on” and “chipolata” as substitutes (they begin with “C” and they’re of the same sorts as the Russian words (one is luggage and the other’s food). That is, the spirit of Yolkin is catered to; I’ve put my pinch of incense on the altar, which means that this is a righteous translation.

The crocodile is the famous character Gena the Crocodile from the Cheburashka series of multifilms, and the meteorite fragment is in the shape of the much-loved Cheburashka. Any Russian would see this in a flash! It’s like putting up Popeye or Taz… it’s that much a part of Russian “visual culture”. Below is a vid of Gena singing his “birthday song” (his most famous number) in a full-length Cheburashka multifilm (it’s at the beginning).




The Ural meteorite received the name “Chebarkul” after the nearest settlement to the place of its fall.

18 February 2013

Sergei Yolkin



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