Winnie the Pooh

29 November 2013

Most people who grew up in the west are familiar with the cartoon character  Winnie the Pooh (Винни-Пух) from the A.A. Milne story. And most westerners are probably familiar with the film adaptation by Disney. However, what many don’t know is that the story was also adapted for film in the Soviet Union. From 1969 to 1972, the story was made into a trilogy by the famous Soviet animation studio Soyuzmultfilm (Союзмультфильм),which is now considered a classic to those who grew up in the former Soviet Republics.

Many elements of the Soviet Winnie the Pooh set it apart from its western counterparts. For example, the animation in the cartoons are not based on the stories’ original illustrations. Instead, they use a completely original depiction of the bear and his friends. Additionally, the Soviet films also depict the characters personalities in a way that is much more authentic to the original story. As a result, many people who are familiar with both the Disney version and the Soviet version consider the Soviet Pooh to be much more witty than his American counterpart.

Unfortunately for the series, only three films were produced due to conflicts with the co writers of the story. Also, the films never got to enjoy international release, due to the state of the copyright law in the Soviet Union. This also meant that the director of the Soviet version did not even become aware that there was a famous American version of the story until years later.

Nonetheless, Winnie-the-Pooh is now embedded into modern Russian culture and a must-see cartoon for any student of Russian culture.


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