Animated Russian "Winnie the Pooh" from 1972 is quite the Nietzschean bummer

[Video Link] SoyuzMultfilm's "Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," 1972, presents the iconic tale of Pooh and pals with a tone very different from more familiar adaptations. For starters, Pooh is an annoying, aggressive hedgehog of a bear; Eeyore seems to be paraphrasing Nietzsche, and needs antidepressants even more badly than his English-speaking cousin. Here's another, and another, and another, and another. Update: As blogged on Boing Boing previously, in 2008! (thanks, Rusalka!)


  1. Dang, that part where Pooh gets sent to a labor camp in Siberia for forging honey rations was pretty dark.

  2. Maybe it’s because I grew up on East Bloc kids entertainment (in East Germany), but I like this a lot. Very cute and sincere.

  3. This is much, much closer to the original AA Milne than the utterly atrocious Disney version. I like it!

    1. My wife & I have a collection of Winnie the Pooh, but the complete books, like paper, so until our little one is older he can’t have them. 

      To my eminent disgust he’s become somewhat enamoured of a board book presented by a relative featuring the featureless Disney CGI versions of Pooh & the gang with some unintelligible crap derived of Tiddly Pom but now to do with a cake or something. 

      It is 100% soulless, but I read it to him anyway. 

  4. I love the art.  It’s a twist on the original, but it makes the characters look more like their respective animals.  

  5. I love these! I’ve known about them for years.  My son is growing up more on this version than on the Disney one.

  6. Xeni, I am absolutely delighted that you posted this, but a little disappointed by the way you tore down the material. I like the Golden Book like backgrounds, the chirpy character voices, and the songs. I must admit, Russian Eeyore makes Disney Eeyore appear happy in comparison. Though, I always found Disney’s Eeyore very one-note, I’m depressed and digging for attention with my attention-seeking Facebook post, but Russian Eeyore seems to have a transformation by the conclusion of the episode.

  7. Aw man, you have it all wrong. These cartoons are extremely delightful and are much more in keeping with the tone of the original Milne books.

  8. This is delightful. Then again , as a child, my favourite animated movies included many Soviet  films (Captain Vrungel,  Hedgehog in the Fog, The Mystery of the Third Planet, etc…) so neither the style nor the delivery look  strange to me.

  9. I think you missed the charm of this cartoon. It definitely helps to know russian but its a very delightful cartoon, ive always loved it much more then the sleepy disney ones. His voice was done by the famous russian actor Yevgeny Leonov, who actually kind of resembles the bear. :)

  10. Honestly, it seems even more appropriate in Russian (the culture, not the language, which I don’t speak at all) than in English. Pooh has always been kind of philosophical and verbally witty, and I think they really nailed it.

  11. It’s difficult to imagine a more ethnocentric description of Russian Winnie the Pooh than what is written in this post. Learn a little bit about Russian films or even just Russian cartoons before passing judgement, please.

  12. It’s difficult to imagine a more ethnocentric description of Russian Winnie the Pooh than what is written in this post. Learn a little bit about Russian films or even just Russian cartoons before passing judgement, please.

    1. It’s difficult to imagine a more ethnocentric description of Russian Winnie the Pooh than what is written in this post.

      What does that mean?

      1. It means that Xeni apparently didn’t quite bother (not hard enough by Michael’s taste, at least) abstracting herself away from her very own culture, in order to pass judgement on material coming from a culture she probably doesn’t know very well.

        Ergo, Russian  Eeyore is, relatively, «more depressing than» Disney Eeyore.
        But who said Disney’s version is any more ‘correct’, more ‘how it should be’?

        (And I too fail to see anything properly “Nietzschean” in what he has to say about life.)

        1.  The only time she refers to the cultural origin is when she calls it “Russian”.  Everything else is commentary on the cartoon. 

          I find this a little similar to Waiting for Godot; when I saw Eeyore’s tail in close-up, I momentarily thought he might’ve hung himself.

    2.  So, when she expressed her personal viewpoint, she should have first extracted herself from her cultural background… in order to change her viewpoint?

      If she had a Russian viewpoint, she wouldn’t find this remarkable at all.

      Instead, she’d be posting about the crazy, prozac-saturated disney version with the raspy-voiced pooh.

      Admittedly, Sterling Holloway is deserving of more attention, but really.

      It’s difficult to imagine a more ethnocentric complaint that what is written in your comment. Learn a little bit about BoingBoing posts or even just wonderful things before passing judgement, please.

  13. Disney’s Pooh is fine and well, especially the old stuff with Sterling Holloway narrating. But this version is awesome. I love how Pooh is portrayed here; he seems a bit more “with it” than Disney’s old syrupy milquetoast.

  14. There’s not a hint of Nietzsche in anything Eeyore says.  I have a lot of respect for boingboing, but find it sad that this post is perpetuating misconceptions of Nietzsche’s writings.

    1. I second that. I watched it because I was interested to see how Nietzsche could be inserted in a children cartoon, but having read a lot a Nietzsche, I can tell you that nothing Eeyore says has anything to do with him. At one point he says there is no point in dancing and laughing while Nietzsche says precisely the opposite in Thus spake Zarathustra.
      In my experience, most people who talk about Nietzsche have not read him, and actually talk about the caricature that was made of Nietzsche at some point in history by people who misread him — sometimes voluntarily misread him, such as some French philosophers at the beginning of the 20th century when they just wanted to find philosophical reasons to consider Germans as enemies, to get back at them for the 1870 defeat.

  15. I too was suckered in with the promise of Nietzschean bummer and left feeling like I must be some kind of total pedant fact-nazi for actually knowing anything about Nietzche.

    Or maybe Xeni meant the guys from that sci-fi show with the thing…

  16. According to Larisa Fuchs, a friend here in NYC who is from the Ukraine. “This is one of THE classics. We still quote random bits in the family. The language was amazing, don’t know how it holds up to translation” …and then after she watched the subtitles, “Technically same content but none of the subtlety or charm. The “songs” were priceless, and it’s just not there in this…”

  17. Russian Eeyore (or should that be “Soviet Eeyore”?) is certainly very depressed on a more fundamental existential level than his Disney counterpart, but overall this is much more charming than I envisioned.

    It’s still kind of like a fever dream when one is used to the classic Disney version, with it’s Sherman Brothers songs…but that makes it different, not necessarily bad.  Although I’m not sure Xeni was really deriding them as much as noting the culture shock in the different approach to the same material.

    I will say that Eeyore looking for his tail and Pooh saying it’s not there seems to shine through for every version.

  18. I know!  :) We need to have more action to make it more enjoyable for us Americans.  Add some scenes with Pooh tripping and falling, make the scenes change with the speed of light to give kids ADHD, and add tons of commercials in between.  That should do it.

  19. Russian Eeyore doesn’t seem any more depressed than Disney Eeyore to me, just more honest somehow. Seems like they say basically the same things (could be missing something since I don’t speak the language), but where Disney Eeyore sounds mopey and passive aggressive, Russian Eeyore just kinda sounds like he’s saying what he thinks is true. Maybe that’s more depressing? That he thinks he can’t be happy instead of just saying he can’t be happy as a guilt trip?

  20. I just saw these on Cracked the other day and have watched a few. They’re great- not only am I refreshing my Russian, I am also remembering great Winnie the Pooh stories, but the bear is no longer whiny!

Comments are closed.