|Republic of Borduria
General location of Borduria
|Government||Authoritarian Fascist-Totalitarian dictatorship|
Borduria is a fictional country in the comic strip series The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé. It is located in the Balkans and has a rivalry with the fictional neighbouring country of Syldavia. Borduria is depicted in King Ottokar's Sceptre and The Calculus Affair, and is referred to in Tintin and the Picaros.
Appearances in Tintin books
In King Ottokar's Sceptre, Tintin reads a Syldavian tourist pamphlet that reveals the early history of Syldavia and its relationship with Borduria. In 1195, Borduria annexed neighbouring Syldavia due to the weakness of King Muskar II, and was under its rule until 1275, when Baron Almaszout drove the Bordurians away and established himself as King Ottokar I. In the later Tintin stories, this ancient rivalry continues with the Bordurians continually trying to invade or undermine Syldavia.
King Ottokar's Sceptre (written in 1939 by Hergé) depicts an unsuccessful Bordurian attempt at staging a coup d'état against Syldavia, trying to remove the king, and invading the country with the support from Bordurian sympathizers within Syldavia. The sceptre is stolen, which would force the King to abdicate, however Tintin returns it in time. The Bordurians then announce to prove their peaceful intentions by withdrawing their troops 15 miles from the borders.
In The Calculus Affair (1956), Borduria is depicted as a stereotypical half-Eastern Bloc and half-fascist country complete with its own secret police (ZEP) (led by Colonel Sponsz) and a fascist military dictator, Marshal Kûrvi-Tasch, who promotes a Taschist ideology. A statue of Kûrvi-Tasch appears in front of a government building, in which he wears a moustache similar to Joseph Stalin's and gives a Nazi-like salute. The Bordurian military of this period is depicted as technologically inept—unable to stop a stolen tank commandeered by Tintin and his companions as a result of defective mines and anti-tank guns. The Bordurians kidnap Professor Calculus after he develops an ultrasonic weapon, however he is rescued.
In Tintin and the Picaros (1976), the South American banana republic of San Theodoros, ruled by General Tapioca, has formed an alliance with the Bordurian government, which has sent him military advisors, including Colonel Sponsz. In an unpublished page drawn by Hergé for this book, a bust of Kûrvi-Tasch can even be seen in the office of a San Theodorean colonel. Eventually, Tapioca is deposed by Tintin's friend General Alcazar, and Sponsz is exiled.
The Bordurian countryside is set in dramatic mountainous terrain. The craggy landscape and towering peaks are most similar to the Balkan Mountains in Moesia. Therefore, it is possible that Borduria is set roughly in the present-day locations of Bulgaria and Serbia.
Government and military
Borduria is a fascist country with a semi totalitarian government. Several Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Croatia, Albania and Romania were run by fascist governments similar to Nazi Germany before and during World War II, and all were client states of the Soviet Union after the war; Borduria may be presumed to be in a similar situation. In Tintin post-war stories it's depicted as a typical Eastern Bloc country. The fact that the president of state bears the military rank of Marshal is reference to Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, Ion Antonescu, the WWII Marshal of Romania, and Josip Broz Tito, the then president of Yugoslavia. However, Borduria's totalitarian dictatorship with leader's cult of personality known in 1956 more resembles Joseph Stalin, Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya of Hungary, and Carol II of Romania. Unknown in the times of Tintin were later strong leaders from the same area: Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania, Todor Zhivkov of Bulgaria and Enver Hoxha of Albania.
The army in pre-war King Ottokar's Sceptre is depicted as Nazi-supplied, the main aircraft being Bf-109. In post-war stories it has all the characteristics of the Soviet military. In Tintin and the Picaros the San Theodoros army is supplied by Borduria with AK-47-reminiscent assault-rifles and Mil Mi-1 helicopter. Also the government state limousine with Kurvi-Tasch's mustaches is inspired by the Soviet ZIL-111.
In King Ottokar's Sceptre, the Bordurian flag is black with a red circle and two black triangles, reminiscent of the stark, eye-catching symbols used by several Fascist movements. In The Calculus Affair, it is red, with the emblem of Kurvi-Tasch's mustache inside a white circle, resembling it closer to the Nazi flag, and this was also worn as military armbands by the Bordurian military personnel. In King Ottokar's Sceptre,the Bordurian army uses the Gewehr 98, vz. 24 and Karabiner 98k bolt action rifles.In The Calculus Affair, Bordurian soldiers and agents were armed with Italian Beretta Model 38 Submachine Guns.
The Tintin books depict the country's language, Bordurian, only in fragments. Like Syldavian, the language seems to be based on the Dutch Brussels dialect Marols, such as "mänhir" for "mister" (cf. Dutch "mijnheer").
Tintin albums featuring Borduria:
- Le Sceptre d'Ottokar (King Ottokar's Sceptre, 1939)
- L'Affaire Tournesol (The Calculus Affair, 1956)
- Colonel Sponsz of Borduria features in Tintin et les Picaros (Tintin and the Picaros, 1976)
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