Archive for December, 2012

Pay it Forward Soviet-style

Remember Misha, the Soviet Olympic mascot?

Here’s another example that in the Soviet Union the good things were good: The animated short film “Thank you!” by Vladimir Tarasov.

It’s very Soviet, but in a good way. Three children fly in a plane, enjoy the flight and thank the pilot. The pilot is flattered, but he suggests them to thank the engineer who designed the plane, so they do. The engineer is hinted to be Jewish, and he’s smoking a cigarette while designing the plane—in the 1970s nobody complained that depicting smoking is dangerous to children. The engineer suggests the children to thank the factory workers who built the plane. The factory worker turns out to be Georgian and is depicted as an orchestra conductor; he suggests the children to thank the forgery worker who made the metal for the plane.

The forgery worker, who turns out to be Ukrainian, and even says a couple of Ukrainian words, suggests the children to thank the miner who brought the ore to the forgery. The miner suggests to thank the geologist, who found the ore. And the geologist suggest to thank the pilot, who brought him from to Taiga, where he found the ore.

As with many Soviet animated films, this one is both simple and arty.

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Possible censorship of Putin and Medvedev’s names on Russian television

Here’s a somewhat curious story: The Russian TV channel NTV showed a performance by the rock band “Leningrad”, which is famous for incorporating many Russian expletives in its lyrics. The expletives were censored by beeping, which is the usual and expected practice, comparable to beeping on words like “fuck” in American TV. The surprise in this performance, however, was that the names of president Putin and prime minister Medvedev, who were mentioned in the song, were censored the same way. The name of the the Church of Christ the Savior, which recently became famous as the stage of Pussy Riot’s notorious performance, was partly censored as well, although the name “Pussy Riot” itself was not censored.

NTV started out in the early 1990s as one of Russia’s first independent TV channels, but now it’s controlled by the Kremlin.

Here’s the original story at Lenta.ru in Russian. The only thing in English I could find about it, was this story, which is probably machine-translated. So I made a rough edited version so the English would be readable. It’s a reaction of the NTV host and of the former Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi to the incident:

“Quacking’ over the names of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev during the performance of the band “Leningrad” on NTV was irony, not an act of censorship. On this, as reported by RIA Novosti , December 10, told the host Vadim Takmenev. “We thought it was a funny trick in this song, so here it was sung openly with a giant duck will quack over the names of the president and the prime minister and the famous building with a dome,” – said Takmenev. He expressed regret that no one understood self-irony. The words “Putin” and “Medvedev” were masked duck quacking during the performance of Sergei Shnurov’s song “Moscow” in the program “CCTV” on December 9. Some cursing was masked, too. Many media saw this as an act of censorship. Meanwhile, according to Vadim Takmenev, if the purpose was censorship, the authors of the program would have chosen a different way: “The options were a few – well, for example, ask the “Leningrad” to sing the song in a more ethereal version. There was an option to score the words that are now all the talk , the names of two people, the music, so no one noticed… Or we could do the song and not put it on the air. If it would be about a censorship. What prevents us to throw this song?” Takmenev also noticed that topical songs on the air has been retained, and by “Leningrad” no questions to transfer arose. The presenter also said that accusations of censorship to the management of NTV in connection with the release of “Central Television” in any case unfounded, since the program is in the external production.

Earlier on Monday, President of the Foundation “Russian Television Academy,” the former Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi said that the names of Putin and Medvedev have been removed from the air legally, as is the norm in the law on the protection of the dignity of the president. He did not see political implications in the actions of the authors of ” Central Television”.


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