Cinematryoshka: Soviet New Year's Cartoons

Soviet cartoons are still very popular among children and adults, because the characters there are charming and the morality is instructive. And due to the fact that New Year is the most favorite holiday in Russia, New Year's cartoons have its own place in Soviet history of animation.


The New Year is one of Russia’s most favorite and anticipated holidays of the year. But this only became the case less than 100 years ago, in 1935 when Pavel Postyshev, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, managed to convince Joseph Stalin that the New Year’s tree (previously known as a Christmas tree) was perfectly capable of becoming a symbol of a happy Soviet childhood. And that’s just the way it turned out. The New Year is now the day when everyone awaits a miracle, children especially. Many cartoons have been made that revolve around the New Year and unveil the Russian traditions behind this holiday. Father Frost leaving gifts under a fir tree, New Year Morning performances and families watching New Year’s concerts. We’d like to tell you about some of the traditions shown in these Soviet New Year’s cartoons.

By the way, a lot of the New Year’s songs that Russians know happen to come from cartoons. The song “Kaby ne bylo zimy” (If There Were No Winter), is a New Year’s hit that was first performed by Valentina Tolkunova for the cartoon “Winter in Prostokvashino”. After that, the song was covered many times by other singers and even remixed by various DJs.
The song sung by Father Frost and the Snow Maiden in “Nu, Pogodi” also comes straight to Russians’ minds when they think of the New Year. And even though this year marks the song’s 40th anniversary, people still remember it and love reciting it. However, the most famous New Year’s song is “A Fir Tree Was Born in the Forest”. Everyone in Russia knows it, without exception. It was written 110 years ago and although it wasn’t originally intended for cartoons, it’s been used in them countless times, sung by many different singers and characters, and one thing remains clear: this song is the true symbol of the New Year in Russia. Find out more about Soviet New Year's songs in our podcast.

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