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Tropical Russian Bears: Jews and Soviet Animation During The Cold War

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After Stalin consolidated the major animation studios and closed down smaller regional studios to create a single Moscow-based drawn and puppet animation studio in 1934–36, the animation studio Soyuzmultfilm became the largest animation studio in Eastern Europe. In the 1960s, Soviet Jewish animators focused on the theme of social geography and developed individual characters in relationship to social mapping. This essay analyses the enigmatic Cheburashka, the Soviet Mickey Mouse, whose popularity as a Communist ideal led to his starring role as Soyuzmultfilm’s most enduring logo. It is particularly concerned with the development of the ethnically-unidentifiable Cheburashka against the history of the Moscow Zoo and its inter-species exhibitions.

Affiliations: 1: Touro College


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