Rus Articles Journal

Whether it is worth being afraid of “the Russian bear“?

Since the 16th century a bear even more often appear on cards as a symbol of Russia. However the leading role in fixing of this association was played by the British caricaturists. From the middle the XIX interests of British and Russia constantly faced - in Central Asia (this opposition received the name “Big Game“), in the Crimea, in Europe, in the Far East. The English lion and the Russian bear became heroes of caricatures constantly.

To take, for example, caricatures of times of “Big game“. Here the Afghan emir costs between Medvedem and Lev, and from below the signature: “Save me from my friends!“ Here the Bear sat down on the Cat (Persia), and it is discontentedly watched by Lev (the signature is also ironic: “As among friends“ ).

And here the French caricature of 1893 apropos Franco - the Russian union. On it in one bed the naked girl - France which is artfully caressing the Russian Bear is represented. Signature: “Tell - the darling, I will give you heart, but whether I will receive your fur coat in the winter?“ it would Seem to

what bad is in an image of a bear? However British treated it absolutely in a certain key: Russia - the wild uncivilized country, not very clever, clumsy, trustful and obedient if to hold it on a lead, but dangerous if to anger her or not to constrain.

In this plan R. Kipling`s poem “World with the Bear“ is very indicative. In it a story of the crippled Kashmir hunter who regretted the bear begging him once and did not shoot - was told for what right there cruelly paid. In youth I did not see any background in this verse, however it was there, and the most concrete.

“World with the Bear“ it was written in August, 1898. That year Russia participated in the conflict in Manchuria and asked Britain to disengage the troops from Port - Artur. British first agreed, did not learn yet that Russia secretly was going to buy the ships from Germany - the worst enemy of Britain. Besides in the same August, 1898 - go the emperor Nicholas II suggested to call in the Hague the first “peaceful“ conference to accept on it more humane rules of conducting wars, and also to forbid the most brutal types of weapon (like explosive bullets or gases).

Here the true “singer of the British Empire“ Kipling also tried to warn the poem Europe against excessive trustfulness to Russia. He said that though verses are based on the real facts, they are, first of all, “allegory of the entry of Russia to civilized Europe“ . Sending “World with a bear“ in “Tayms“, he asked to print a verse not in a literary, and political column. Kipling wrote: “I need a column in “Tayms“ to reach people respectable which believe that Russia can behave in a civilized way“ .

R. Kipling “World with a bear“ (A. Onoshkovich Lane - Yatsyna):

... When he rears, the person and an animal of infections,

When it will cover rage and rage of svinyachy eyes,

When he puts paws, with the hung head.

This minute of death, minute World.

Toothless, bezguby, beznosy, asking passersby a tax,

Matun, the awful beggar, repeats the same again. Having clamped

between knees of a rifle, holding hands over fire,

Careless white people are busy in the afternoon.

Again and again the same goes on it to late darkness: “Do not conclude

world with the Bear that goes as we“.


However, Kipling`s opinion on Russia was good is expressed in the story “Former“: “Understand me correctly: any Russian - the sweetest person, while will not get drunk. As the Asian it is charming. And only when insists that to Russians treated not as the most western of east people, and, on the contrary, as to the most east of western, turns into ethnic misunderstanding with which, the right, is hard to deal“ .

It is interesting that in 1911 Yakov Priluker who emigrated from Russia to Britain published the book in pictures where he tried to reconcile the English lion with the Russian bear. However, in quite peculiar manner - on a plot the lion helps a bear to be released from a cage (it is necessary to understand, cages “barbarous totalitarianism...“).

An image of “the Russian bear“ - wild and stupid - also “the European partners“ perfectly used others. For example, in the German magazine of 1942 the caricature representing the Soviet Union in the form of the bear roaring from pain who lost the paw which symbolized Sevastopol captured by nazis is drawn. And here the Latvian caricature of 1991 which is gloating over concerning collapse of the USSR - on it a bear in a peak-cap comes to the doctor with the complaint: “The doctor, seems to me, I slowly break up“ . It is interesting that the bear in both drawings is not terrible, and it is pathetic, moreover - in him pork lines are obviously looked through...

Caricatures, of course, offensive, however Russians it is worse to treat the bear not steel. On the contrary, accepted this symbol, having put in it only a positive. Yes, we are huge, but are not silly at all. Ourselves will understand as to us to live in “taiga“, and here you should not anger us, really... Not without reason the bear became a symbol of pro-presidential party “United Russia“. Her competitors - “Just Russia“ - right there took on a tiger emblem - the only serious rival of a brown bear in the nature.

But, probably, the symbol of the Moscow Olympic Games of 1980 became the most nice “the Russian bear“. The State Committee decided to choose for a role of the Olympic symbol of a “native“ bear in 1977. To the Soviet artists the call was thrown - to prepare sketches where Mishka would personify force, daring and kindness.

As a result won against the sketch of Victor Chizhikov which nicknamed the Bear cub Mischa though according to the artist the full name of the hero was Mikhaylo Potapych Toptygin. The traditional Olympic symbolics which surely had to be present at the character remained the only unresolved problem. Chizhikov remembered that the idea came to him literally in a dream - and on Mischa the well-known belt in flowers of five parts of the world and with a fastener in the form of the Olympic rings appeared.

The Olympic bear cub was duplicated everywhere - on badges, circles and cards, in animated films and in the form of toys... But especially effectively he acted at the Olympic Games closing ceremony. Huge “screen“ from four and a half thousand living people who in the necessary order lifted color boards, forming a certain picture - including Bear cub was one of “counters“ of a ceremony. When Olympic flame went out, on Mischa`s cheek the touching tear ran. This creative idea arose incidentally when during one of rehearsals someone forgot to lift the board.

However the most touching moment came later when over stadium the big rubber doll of the Bear cub filled with helium rose and departed to the sky under sounds of a song of Pakhmutova and Dobronravov “Good-bye, our tender Mischa“. By the way, vertically the doll learned to fly only when to it weighted legs, and tied balloons to paws...

Having made the farewell flight, Mischa landed on Vorobyovy Gory. Some time the doll stood on ENEA, and then it was placed on a warehouse where the kind “the Russian bear“ was symbolically eaten by rats...

Be continued.