Krokodil magazine was an illustrated Soviet satirical journal, published in the USSR between 1922 and 1991. This blog is related to my PhD project. I am interested in political cartoons and caricature, and satirical journals in general, but specifically the operation of the medium in the Soviet context. I investigate Krokodil in relation to theories of carnival, transmediality and performativity.
Search This Blog
Boris Efimov, 'For Enduring Peace', 1950
I recently purchased a copy of this book. There are some familiar images in it, and it is a fantastic resource.
The book is a collection of around 50 cartoon images.
The depiction of Winston Churchill in Efimov's 1950s cartoons is an interesting aspect of his work. Perhaps Churchill serves as an individual symbol of aggression and suspicion, rather than the personification of British foreign policy? Other representations of Britain dwindle (John Bull, a British lion, for example).
This picture, of Boris Efimov and his son, reading the book after its publication in 1950, appears in Efimov's autobiography.
Krokodil cartoons very often employed folkloric characters and themes. Soviet graphic satire owed much to pre-revolutionary popular prints, and in some cases, Krokodil images were composed in the graphic style of Russian folk arts. In other cartoons, Soviet satirical commentary was enacted by Russian folk tale characters.
Russian folk characters were thus reimagined in a modern satirical context, and the combination of discourses created unique visions of both old and new. Stalinist folklore/'fakelore' (Dorson 1950) co-opted folk heroes in the service of the Soviet state, but Krokodil's use of these characters was satirical and thus markedly different.
Ded Moroz and Snegoruchka also commonly appeared in Soviet satire, celebrating the turn of the New Year, or warning about the change in seasons.
Countless cartoons visualised anthropomorphised animals, but a number of images also referred to less famous Russian folk tales.
Perhaps the most frequent appearances were made by …