7 Great Russian Cartoons
Want a fun way to boost your vocabulary, improve your pronunciation, and learn more about Russian culture at the same time? Then try watching some Russian cartoons! The country has a great tradition of animation – there are so many to choose from, you’re bound to find something you enjoy. From Russian versions of Western shows to authentically Soviet creations, take a look below at some of the best cartoons!
1) Ёжик в тумане (Hedgehog in the Fog)
Voted the best animated film of all time, this 10-minute cartoon follows the journey of a little hedgehog to his friend’s house. Despite its brevity, ‘Ёжик в тумане’ has had a lasting impact on Russian culture. With its dark colours and dramatic soundtrack, the cartoon can seem a bit sinister at times. However, *spoiler alert* the wide-eyed hedgehog makes it to his destination safe and sound. The dreamy animation explores themes of fear, freedom, and isolation – not bad for a cartoon! You can watch the short film here.
2) Маша и медведь (Masha and the Bear)
A more recent addition to Russian cartoon culture, ‘Маша и медведь’ tells the story of a little Russian girl and her friend the Bear. Masha’s curiosity and mischievousness always gets the both of them into trouble, and the Bear constantly has to try and avert disaster. Loosely based on a Russian folk story of the same name, ‘Маша и медведь’ is incredibly popular – the episode ‘Маша плюс каша’ (‘A Recipe for Disaster’) has over 2.1 billion views on Youtube and you can enjoy it here!
3) Крокодил Гена (Crocodile Gena)
Russian cartoons don’t get any cuter than this! Thanks to its charming stop-motion animation, brilliant soundtrack, and, of course, the famous Cheburashka (Чебурашка), this is one of the country’s most beloved cartoons. Described as a ‘Soviet Mickey Mouse’, Cheburashka has huge fluffy ears, arrived in Russia in a box of oranges, and is best friends with Crocodile Gena. Gena works in the zoo and plays the гармонь (a type of Russian accordion) in his spare time – his much-loved songs include ‘День Рождения’ (‘The Birthday Song’) and ‘Голубой Вагон’ (‘The Blue Rail-car’). Click here to watch the adorable Cheburashka!
4) Ну, погоди! (Well, just you wait!)
Ever thought Tom and Jerry could do with being a bit more Soviet? Then ‘Ну, погоди!’ is for you! One of the most popular cartoons of its time, we see the Wolf (Волк) try and catch his arch-nemesis, the Hare (Заяц). Like Tom and Jerry, the show features a lot of slapstick comedy and the characters rarely speak – apart from the Wolf’s famous catchphrase “Ну, Заяц, погоди!” (“Well, Hare, just you wait!). The Wolf, with his ponytail, flares, and avid smoking habit, plays the perfect villain opposite the innocent, blue-eyed Hare. Watch some of their adventures here!
5) Лунтик (Moonzy)
If you want to improve your Russian and general knowledge, then try watching ‘Лунтик’! Aimed at young children, Moonzy is a purple, furry alien who fell to Earth from the Moon. The show has an educational edge, and every episode the little alien learns more about life here and how to get along with others. With over 500 episodes and an international audience, ‘Лунтик’ is an extremely popular Russian cartoon. Get learning and click here to enjoy some ‘Лунтик’ for yourself!
6) Винни Пух (Winnie Pooh)
When you think of Winnie Pooh, most of us instantly picture the cheerful, yellow bear in his famous red top. Not Russians! Their Winnie Pooh, with his brown fur and little gruff voice, is decidedly more bear-like. His faithful companions haven’t been forgotten – Eeyore (Иа) and Piglet (Пятачок) tag along with Winnie on his adventures. Its combination of simple animation, childlike humour, and occasional philosophising has ensured the show’s enduring popularity. You can watch all the series of ‘Винни Пух’ here.
7) Трое из Простоквашино (The Three from Prostokvashino)
Endlessly quotable, this show tells the story of a young boy called Uncle Fyodor (Дядя Фёдор), his talking cat Matroskin (Матроскин) and his dog Sharik (Шарик). After being forbidden to keep Matroskin, Uncle Fyodor runs away from home and we follow them on their adventures around the Russian countryside. The three characters – the level-headed Fyodor, the quick-witted Matroskin, and the cheerful Sharik – perfectly complement each other and the show is a Soviet classic. Why not join them on their adventures? Click here to watch the full series.
So next time you have a spare few minutes, check out some of these brilliant cartoons! You can also find out lots more about Russian culture on the Liden & Denz blog!
This post was brought to you by Tilly Hicklin, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz, St. Petersburg.