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.
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The work of Студия 13 is very interesting. In more than one way it's reminiscent of Krokodil imagery, as these two cartoons illustrate. Studiia 13 appear to be a project founded and supported by MGER, Молодая гвардия, the youth wing of United Russia, and interestingly, they were behind the "Without Filters" («Без фильтров») exhibitions earlier this year.
The influence of Soviet-era graphic satire is very clear, in my view, although some of Studiia 13's methods employ much more crudeness than Krokodil, and much less grotesque.
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 …