I didn’t start out as a writer, no sir. Initially I wanted to become a cartoonist-- drawing comic strips, political cartoons, and the alike. Eventually, with the advent of Adobe Flash in the early 2000’s, I switched over to more full-blown animation pursuits. I didn’t really know where to start, so I took the advice of my mentor and began watching anything and everything animated that I could. Luckily at this time, my family just got our first 56K modem, meaning I could surf the web to my heart’s content (as long as nobody was on the phone). Around this time, YouTube became big and people from all over the world were posting everything and anything you could ever think of.

Eventually I happened upon what ended up being, I think, the best adaptation of the original A.A. Milne “Winnie The Pooh” animated film. “Винни-Пух” (Winnie The Pooh) was created in 1969, directed by Fyodor Khitruk in the since defunct Soviet Union. Khitruk, at the time, had not seen the Disney adaptations that we all know and love here in the states, and, instead, based his designs more heavily on the original illustrations by Milne.

The first animated short was such a success that Khitruk decided to make two more animations, “Винни-Пух идёт в гости” (Winnie-the-Pooh Pays a Visit) in 1971 and “Винни-Пух и день забот” (Winnie-the-Pooh and a Busy Day) in 1972.

The combined animations are known as the “Winnie-the-Pooh Trilogy”, which was awarded the USSR State Prize in 1976. The USSR State Prize (formally known as the “Stalin Prize”) was given for prominent achievements. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the award was given to the work itself as opposed to being awarded to Khitruk himself (Socialist USSR standard concepts at play here).

It’s absolutely fascinating to see something that I personally grew up with through the lens of a then-Soviet citizen. I’m positive that there are entire generations of Russians who grew up seeing this and remember it as fondly as I remember the Disney adaptation. The depiction of Khutrik’s Winnie-the-Pooh was featured on stamps in 1988 and 2012, and there are statues in the Ramenki District of Moscow depicting the main cast as well.

Wanna check it out for yourself? Here is the full un-subtitled film:

And here are the individual parts, all subtitled (just turn on YouTube’s Closed Captioning):

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