Get them while they’re young

It’s said that if you want to win people’s hearts and minds you should ‘get them while they’re young’. It’s a lesson that the Russian state seems to have learnt, at least if the Daily Mail is to be believed. Masha and the Bear is a popular cartoon for young children, produced in Russia, but translated into other languages and shown around the world. It might seem like harmless stuff, but appearances can be deceiving. For in fact, Masha and the Bear is a devious work of Russian propaganda. As the Daily Mail tells us:

A Russian-made children’s cartoon show has been accused of being part of the Putin propaganda machine. Masha and the Bear focuses on the relationship between a slight but imposing young girl and her protector, a huge bear. In one Masha even dons a Soviet border guard’s hat as she repels invaders from the Bear’s carrot patch.

Critics said this was a metaphor for how Russia protects its borders.

Last year, Finland’s top newspaper – Helsingin Sanomat – quoted a lecturer at Tallinn University’s Communication School as claiming that the bear symbolised Russia and was designed to place a positive image of the country in children’s minds.

The lecturer, Priit Hobemagi, said that the series was a ‘beautifully presented’ part of a campaign that is dangerous for Estonian national security. Anthony Glees, an intelligence expert from The University of Buckingham told The Times: ‘Masha is feisty, even rather nasty, but also plucky. She punches above her weight. It’s not far-fetched to see her as Putinesque.’

Masha defends Russia’s borders

The Daily Mail concludes:

Russia’s state media have refuted the claims from the likes of Estonia and Lithuania. They have also branded the concerns in the Baltic states as ‘pathological’ Russophobia. The company who produce the popular cartoon, Animaccord, said the show is an independent project that has never received state funding.

This is one of those stories where any sort of commentary seems  superfluous. Its absurdity speaks for itself. One day, historians are going to look back on this period of our history and shake their heads in astonishment.


15 thoughts on “Get them while they’re young”

  1. If journalism resigns itself to being a “first draft of history,” then we’re going to have some terrible – F—ING TERRIBLE – history books about the Putin era in a few decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am born in the USSR. Live in the EU and my EU born kids love Masha and the bear, just as much as they love minecraft, zootopia, Moana, etc. They have no clue of the f…ckling discourse the modern journalists are broadcasting. They don’t even know it’s produced in Russia… 😂 or relates to Russia. Kids interested in Masha and the Bear are under 7-8… WTF


  3. This really is “scrapping the bottom of the barrel”

    Have they really run out of Russophobic smears that they attack a harmless children’s cartoon?

    So called educated people were willing to put their names on this silly story. A university professor actually did research? How far down the media here in the UK has fallen.

    Did they need a distraction from Brexit failure and pulled out this Russia story to frighten parents of little children?

    Anything seems possible in the media today.

    I hope that this has no impact on the company that makes the cartoon. It is a success worldwide and I hope that it continues and no one takes this dangerous nonsense seriously.


  4. “In one Masha even dons a Soviet border guard’s hat as she repels invaders from the Bear’s carrot patch.”

    Note the cap Masha’s wearing:

    The cap-band is blue. Why? Because the Border Troops were part of the NKVD! NKVD->MGB->KGB->FSB.

    Putin is former KGB.

    “Coincidence? I don’t think so!”(c)


    1. Wow, what incite, wait a minute, usa flag has blue, that must mean that Oprah Winfrey, as you know is american, must really be Russian as she has the american flag on her show with need I say Blue in it


  5. Satire on:

    You guys know nothing!

    Comrade Masha is just the cop out! In reality, there is a shadow war between SVR (which produces Masha and the bear) and GRU which produces….

    Can you guess what?

    Yes, Despicable me! The MAIN CHARACTER IS EVEN NAMED GRU!!!
    It is an award winning film that popularize being a minion of the GRU!!!

    But that is just the GRU cop out! They have been far more advanced and have engaged in a long term ploy to totally undervalue American comics!

    I mean, it is in plain sight, what is the symbol of the GRU Speznaz?

    What is the symbol of a pretty popular “D.C” “hero”? Who is an antisocial paranoid vigilante to boot? And Stan Lee, the only true American competition to this subversion of our bodily mental fluids just died! Coincidence? I dont think so!

    Good fucking grief.

    I mean, In real life, I sometimes troll Russiagaters into explaining why “Batman is a GRU psyops operation” is obviously bullshit while Russiagate is not, despite “Batman is a GRU psyops operation” having far fewer gaping plotholes.

    I have half a mind of actually trying to troll the Daily beast into writing that Despicable me is GRU propaganda.


    1. “Yes, Despicable me! The MAIN CHARACTER IS EVEN NAMED GRU!!!
      It is an award winning film that popularize being a minion of the GRU!!! “


      Oh, poor, wicked me! I was blind

      the truth!

      We must go deeper, A.I.! The perfidy of the GRU transcends time-space continuum. Consider this memorative plaque in Kazan, Russia:

      In 1915 here lived future founder of the Ukrainian state – Mikhailo GRUshevsky. The Ukraine – Kremlin’s project. It won’t surprise me, if the chief rezidentura of the GRU is situated at the central GRUshevsky street in Kiev. Ouuuuuh, klyati Moskali!


  6. If “Masha and the Bear” is Russian soft power, then what does that make the American films and TV shows watched around the world? Is that just part of the American propaganda machine too? I doubt the author would agree. This is absolutely ridiculous. More and more, the West is using the same language vis-a-vis “foreign influence,” and “foreign agents” that they have condemned Russia for using. After spending the past few months in Russia, I think the West may be matching, or even exceeding at times, the degree of Russian paranoia.


      1. Mr. Rackers, according to his own blog, is “a 21 year old kid from Cincinnati”. Meaning – he’s the future of his nation and a fairly good representative of the views prevailing in his strata of the American society. Judging by the lack of response though, I can assume, that Mr. Rackers could have realized his youth and lack experience, whic might prevent him from articulating a solid confirmation of the views he supports re:Russia.


  7. The times is the most Russophobic of uk newspapers. Britain is going insane at the moment. The maybot has brought back a deal which effectively surrenders uk sovereignty to the EU, as part of the backstop. This treaty which Britain cannot leave will reduce this country to a second class status for perpetuity, so will almost definitely be rejected parliament. This leaves the UK in a tough place.

    Therefore the people need a big nasty bogey man to frighten them and distract them from the real situation which is unlikely to work out well in the short term. Hence the ramping up of the Russophobia


  8. Masha and the Bear is without doubt an aspect of Russian soft power, so yes, it does promote Russia, just like Hollywood movies promote the US. What’s interesting about this is how it reflects the trend you identified in a previous post on the idea of a rules based international order and how the West tends to argue that one set of rules apply to it and another to those that it identifies as not following the rules. This seems to be a common argument: the West can interfere in other’s political processes but no one is allowed to interfere in their processes, the West can use soft power but others cannot. I’ve seen similar accusations leveled against the Confucius Institutes supported by China.


  9. I remember university too. Writing papers that were hyper-analytical post-modern dissections of any work of media to find meaning that was not there nor what the author intended. That was in my first few semesters of my literature degree.

    I think professors allowed that kind of nonsense because they want their students to get learn how to read between the lines and are not necessarily concerned with the content they are discovering (read: imagining) with the exercise. At least that was the case for those early-in-your-degree courses.

    Hopefully before you graduate, you take a class or two where the professor actually does care about the content of your analysis when you read between the lines and you have to back up your findings with pretty darn good reasons and other examples in similar works that match what you are purporting to see. For me that came later in my degree, like in the second half of my degree.

    If you are in a third-year literature course, if you made some unsubstantiated claim about some far-off lunacy that you think the author intended for us to discover, you better have proof because sometimes those professors have met the author you’re analysing, or at the very least have written or read many essays on him or her. In rare instances sometimes the professor IS the author (though I think it is tacky for a professor to put their own book of fiction on the list of required reading).

    Judging from the other comments, you have failed to convince others to see things from your perspective. Some more quantitative proof would help instead of qualitative musings on the well-worn, overused hype of Russian boogeymen infiltrating children’s cartoons.


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