History of Russian animation
The History of Russian animation is the film art produced by Russian animation makers. As most of Russia's production of animation for cinema and television were created during Soviet times, it may also be referred to some extent as the History of Soviet animation. It remains a nearly unexplored field in film theory and history outside Russia.
- 1 Beginnings
- 2 After the revolution
- 3 Further experiments
- 4 Soyuzmultfilm
- 5 The Khrushchev Thaw
- 6 From Brezhnev to Perestroika
- 7 Russian animation today
- 8 List of highest-grossing films
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 Popular Animation Studios
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The first animator in Russia was Aleksander Shiryayev, who was a principal dancer at the Imperial Russian Ballet, as well as a teacher and choreographer. He made a number of pioneering stop motion and traditionally animated ballet films between 1906 and 1909. He built an improvised studio back at his apartment where he carefully recreated various ballets — first by making thousands of sketches and then by staging them using hand-made puppets; he shot them using the 17.5 mm Biokam camera he bought back in London, frame by frame. Shiryaev didn't hold much interest in animation as an art form, but rather saw it as an instrument in studying human plastics, hoping to apply his films for educational purposes. He only showed them to a few people, and they were mostly forgotten during the Soviet period, although Fyodor Lopukhov mentioned Shiryayev's animation experiments in his books. In 1995 they were re-discovered by a ballet historian Viktor Bocharov who got hold of Shiryayev's archives that had been kept safe all this time by a ballet photographer Daniil Savelyev, a close friend of Shiryayev's family. In 2003 Bocharov released a documentary Belated Premiere which was shown at film festivals and included fregments of various films by Aleksander Shiryayev. Aardman Animations was involved in the restoration and digitizing process.
The second person in Russia to independently discover animation was Ladislas Starevich known in Russia by the name of Vladyslav Starevich (Polish: Władysław Starewicz). Being a trained biologist, he started to make animation with embalmed insects for educational purposes, but soon realized the possibilities of his medium to become one of the undisputed masters of stop motion later in his life. His first few films, made in 1910, were dark comedies on the family lives of cockroaches, and were so revolutionary that they earned Starevich a decoration from Nicholas II of Russia. He produced a number of other popular animated films with insects at the Aleksandr Khanzhonkov's film studio where he also worked as a cinematographer and a director of life-action films, sometimes combining life action with stop motion animation, as in The Night Before Christmas and A Terrible Vengeance (both 1913). Starevich left Russia after the October Revolution, and for many years the animation industry was paralyzed.
After the revolution
It was revived in 1924 when Mezhrabpom-Rus released the critically acclaimed 20-minute animated film Interplanetary Revolution that satirized Aelita by Yakov Protazanov which came out the same year. It utilized cutout animation (called flat marionettes at the time) along with the constructivism art style and was made by three artists — Nikolai Khodataev, Zenon Komissarenko and Yuri Merkulov — who had been previously hired to make sketches for Aelita. It was developed independently at the All-Union Technicum of Cinematography where all three headed the first Soviet animation studio. In 1925 it was followed by a government-backed China in Flames made as a protest against the European interference in Chinese economy by the same team along with Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Valentina and Zinaida Brumberg (known as the Brumberg sisters). With 1000 meters of film and 14 frames per second it ran over 50 minutes at the time, which made it the first Soviet animated feature film and one of the first in the world.
Simultaneously animator Alexsander Bushkin along with the film director Dziga Vertov produced a number of agitprop animated shorts, films and sketches with cutout animated sequences for Sovkino such as Soviet Toys, Humoresques and episodes of Kino-Pravda. They were made as editorial cartoons that satirized bourgeoisie, Church and Western countries, drawn and animated in a sketchy manner.
During the late 1920s a number of young talents entered the industry and started developing it actively, moving away from agitation to stories and fairy tales aimed at children. In 1927 Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky directed The Skating Rink, one of the first traditionally animated Soviet films with a distinguishable art style (white lines against a black background) developed by Ivanov-Vano and Daniil Cherkes. Same year he made Bolvashka's Adventures that combined live action and stop motion animation in a story about a wooden boy from the Moscow Toy Museum who came to life. The idea was extended in a spiritual successor — Bratishkin's Adventures series developed by Aleksandr Ptushko and Yuri Merkulov at Mosfilm that ran from 1928 to 1931 and also combined both techniques, often in the same frame.
In 1928 Nikolai Khodataev, his sister Olga Khodataeva and the Brumberg sisters produced another important hand-drawn animated short The Samoyed Boy about a Nenets child. Stylized as a traditional Nenets art, it followed a dramatic narrative and used an innovative technique of printing on thin celluloid. A 24-minute stop motion film The Adventures of the Little Chinese was directed same year by another early female animator Maria Benderskaya and could be considered a return to the traditions of Ladislas Starevich.
A whole line of films based on the tales in verse by Korney Chukovsky and Samuil Marshak appeared between 1927 and 1946. Many of them were lost (or considered to be lost) during World War II and were later remade. Mikhail Tsekhanovsky's The Post (1929, cel animation) in particular was both a return to constructivism traditions and a big step forward: it was successfully exported and widely shown around the world, while in the USSR it changed the perception of animation as an art form. It also became the first Soviet animated film to be colorized (by hand) and one of the first to get a musical score by Mikhail Deshevov and a voiceover by Daniil Kharms in 1930.
During the 1930s Soviet animators continued experimenting with form and content. In 1935 Aleksandr Ptushko directed The New Gulliver, one of the first full-length animated movies that combined detailed stop motion with a live actor (a 15-year-old boy). The film featured from 1,500 to 3,000 different puppets with detachable heads and various facial expressions, as well as camera and technical tricks. The international success of the movie allowed Ptushko to open his own "division of 3D animation" at Mosfilm which also worked as a school for beginning animators. In four years they created a dozen of stop motion shorts; most of them, such as A Fox and a Wolf (1936), were based around Russian folklore, traditional art (with the involvement of artists from Palekh) and could be watched in full color thanks to the newly invented three-color film process by Pavel Mershin. In 1939 Ptushko directed another feature — The Golden Key based on the popular Soviet fairy tale; it also combined stop motion with live action, but to a lesser extent.
Mikhail Tsekhanovsky and his wife Vera Tsekhanovskaya also collaborated with Dmitri Shostakovich and Alexander Vvedensky on the first traditionally animated Soviet feature for Lenfilm. Between 1933 and 1936 they worked on The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda, an animated opera loosely based on the fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Despite many problems, including the infamous bullying of Shostakovich in press, the film was nearly finished and had been stored by Lenfilm until 1941 when almost all of it was destroyed in fire caused by the bombings of Leningrad. Tsekhanovsky was also involved in development of graphical sound along with musicians Arseny Avraamov and Evgeny Sholpo. They were challenged by Aleksandr Ivanov, Nikolai Voinov and Panteleymon Sazonov who created a number of shorts based on their own idea of "drawing paper sound" between 1929 and 1935.
Simultaneously Alexandre Alexeieff, a Russian artist who had to leave his country for France during the Russian Civil War, developed a unique pinscreen animation technology that allowed for a wide spectre of special effects achieved through the use of hundreds of thousands of pins that formed different patterns. From 1933 to 1980 he and his wife produced a number of experimental animations that gained international acclaim. Despite the status of white émigré back in his fatherland, Alexeieff's name was well-known among local professionals, and his works inspired various Russian artists, most famously Yuriy Norshteyn. Today he is commemorated as one of the patriarchs of Russian animation.
In 1933 Viktor Smirnov who headed the Amkino Corporation, a New York-based company responsible for distribution of Soviet movies in North America, was given task to study the animation processes at Disney and Fleischer Studios. Next year he returned to Moscow and founded an Experimental Animation Workshop under the Main Directorate of the Photo-Cinematographic Industry where he, Alexei Radakov, Vladimir Suteev and Peter Nosov started "developing the Disney style". In 1935 Walt Disney himself sent a film reel with Three Little Pigs and Mickey Mouse shorts to the Moscow Film Festival that made a lasting impression on Soviet animators and officials.
On June 10, 1936 the Soyuzdetmultfilm Studio was created in Moscow from the small and relatively independent trickfilm units of Mosfilm, Sovkino, Mezhrabpomfilm and Smirnov's studio. In a year it was renamed to Soyuzmultfilm. Three-months retraining courses were organized by the studio administration where animators studied everything, from drawing and directing movies to the basics of music and acting. For four years some of the leading animators, including Ivan Ivanov-Vano, the Brumberg sisters, Alexandra Snezhko-Blotskaya, Leonid Amalrik, Olga Khodataeva, Vladimir Suteev and Boris Dyozhkin focused on the creation of Disney-style shorts, exclusively using the cel technique. From 1937 on they also produced films in full color using the three-color film process by Pavel Mershin.
In 1938 the team also mastered rotoscoping, or Eclair as it is widely known in Russia (named after the Eclair video projector). Not everyone was happy with the chosen direction though, and by 1939 animators starting developing their own styles. The year saw three releases: Ivanov-Vano did a hand-drawn remake of the 1927 stop motion film Moydodyr based on the Moydodyr fairy tale in verse which he personally praised as an important step from Disney to the more traditional art; Suteev and Lamis Bredis presented an original Uncle Styopa adaptation, while Aleksandr Ivanov produced Grandfather Ivan which became a radical shift towards the agitprop posters and socialist realism aesthetics.
Soon after Lev Kuleshov, then a professor at VGIK, suggested Ivanov-Vano to open and head a workshop under the Art Faculty which became the first official Russian workshop where students studied the art of animation. Among Ivanov's first students were Lev Milchin, Yevgeniy Migunov and Anatoly Sazonov.
With the start of the Great Patriotic War the studio was evacuated to Samarkand and then — to Almaty, along with some key animators who continued teaching students and producing films, including (but not limited to) anti-fascist propaganda. In 1943 they returned to Moscow and released several kids movies, such as The Tale of Tsar Saltan by the Brumberg sisters. By that time Ptushko's studio at Mosfilm had been shut down and Tsekhanovsky's studio at Lenfilm — destroyed by a bomb, which basically turned Soyuzmultfilm into Russia's animation monopolist. Yet even after the end of war its resources were very limited, since a lot of animators disappeared at fronts. A whole generation of Lenigrad animators were either killed in action or died during the Siege of Leningrad. Others returned as war-disabled — among those were Boris Dyozhkin and Aleksandr Vinokurov (both lost their left eyes), Boris Butakov who got to live with a bullet stuck in his head and Vladimir Degtyaryov who lost his right arm and had to learn to work as left-handed. Vladimir Suteev, one of the leading pre-war animators who fought from the first days till the very end, left the industry on his return to write fairy tales and illustrate books.
The rest of the patriarchs worked intensively to prepare new animators; between 1945 and 1948 four groups of students graduated from VGIK. Simultaneously Soyuzmultfilm released a number of short and feature films that brought them domestic and international recognition, such as The Humpbacked Horse (1947) that was used by Walt Disney as a teaching tool for his artists. While this and other films like The Lost Letter (1945) continiued the grotescue pre-war traditions, it all changed in 1948 when the short The Champion by the director Aleksandr Ivanov and art director Yevgeniy Migunov was accused of formalism and anthropomorphism following the cold war anti-Disney campaign. As Migunov remembered, he floutingly drew the backgrounds for his next movie as realistic as possible, and suddenly it became "a golden standard" for the next ten years. Ironically, he would become one of the leading innovators during the Khrushchev Thaw.
The Khrushchev Thaw
From 1950 to 1960 the vast majority of animated films were adaptations of fairy tales and folklore of indigenous peoples. The artists were heavily inspired by the works of Viktor Vasnetsov, Ivan Bilibin, Mikhail Vrubel, as well as Palekh miniature and other national styles. The Disney's conveyer method of production with a clear work split was implemented at Soyuzmultfilm, along with a full analog of a multiplane camera. Eclair (rotoscoping) also rose to popularity. According to the report made by Ivan Ivanov-Vano in 1951, it was a temporary measure that served as a teaching tool for beginning animators, while it also solved a "problem of a positive human character" (referring to an old debate about inabily to animate a good hero using simple tools). Some of the leading actors "lent" their appearances and voices to animators, like Mikhail Astangov who "played" the beast in The Scarlet Flower (1952) or Ruben Simonov who took the role of Raja in The Golden Antelope (1954). The method was applied to a different extent though. While Mikhail Tsekhanovsky was known as the main propagandist of it, Lev Atamanov leant to a mix of Eclair and hand-made animation which can be felt in The Snow Queen (1957), arguably the most famous work of that time. Many focused on animal art with such films as The Forest Adventurers (1951), The Enchanted Boy (1954) and The Ugly Duckling (1956) with little to no use of rotoscoping. All this allowed for a yearly release of prominent feature films with high production values such as The Night Before Christmas (1951), The Snow Maiden (1952), The Frog Princess (1954), The Twelve Months (1956) and The Adventures of Buratino (1959).
First changes happened in 1953 when a puppet division was reopened at Soyuzmultfilm. In 1954 Yevgeniy Migunov along with an engineer Semyon Etlis produced the first Soviet stop motion film since the time of Aleksandr Ptushko: Karandash and Klyaksa — Merry Hunters about the adventures of the Russian clown Karandash and his dog. According to Migunov, they basically had to reinvent the whole production process. Together they organized a technical base, constructed and patented a device for shooting in statics, with a horizontally moving camera and attachable dolls. Also for the first time they used latext to make puppet faces which allowed for a variety of emotions. They were followed by Vladimir Degtyarev who produced lots of acclaimed stop motion films such as Beloved Beauty (1958) and Who Said Meow? (1962), Roman Kachanov and Anatoly Karanovich who directed the award-winning The Cloud in Love (1959) that combined stop motion, traditional and cutout animation, Vadim Kurchevskiy and Nikolay Serebryakov who worked together during early 1960s. Their style was marked by an extensive aesthetic search for, as Bendazzi puts it, "the combination of realism and the baroque".
In 1957 Migunov made another breakthrough with Familiar Pictures based around the sketches by the Soviet stand-up comedian Arkady Raikin who also appeared in the film. What made it special was a radical cartoon style of magazine caricatures prohibited for many years. It became possible due to the chosen genre of satire that didn't fit the "realistic" art direction. It wasn't long until other animators also started abandoing it. In 1958 Alexandra Snezhko-Blotskaya released an adaptation of Arkady Gaidar's A Tale of Malchish-Kibalchish inspired by the 1920 posters, while Boris Stepantsev and Evgeny Raykovsky directed Petya and the Little Red Riding Hood based on the fairy tale by Vladimir Suteev that leant towards Disney and Tex Avery. In 1962 they also made a sequel of sorts — a time travel comedy Not Just Now that featured a real-life schoolboy Petya (played by Vladimir Pozdneev) and his adventures in a hand-drawn environment.
In 1961—1962 a whole line of "formalistic" features hit the screens, such as The Key by Lev Atamanov, Cipollino by Boris Dyozhkin and The Wild Swans by Mikhail and Vera Tsekhanovsky, the first Soviet traditionally animated widescreen picture and the first to implement Gothic art style.. Ivanov-Vano also broke new grounds with The Flying Proletary (1962), the first widescreen stop motion short based on the poems and art of Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Left-Hander (1964) that addressed lubok. In 1962 Fyodor Khitruk made his directoral debut with a primitivistic cutout short The Story of a Crime that told a contemporary story.
From Brezhnev to Perestroika
In the following years many young animation directors developed their own distinctive styles and approaches, turning away from the conveyer method of production, while the number of feature films decreased dramatically. Director Boris Stepantsev and art director Anatoly Savchenko who had been working together since the mid-1950s produced a number of experimental shorts such as a postmodern comedy Vovka in the Far, Far Away Kingdom (1965), the paint-on-glass animation Song of a Falcon (1967) based on the story by Maxim Gorky, the highly popular Karlsson-on-the-Roof dilogy (1968-1970) based on the fairy tale by Astrid Lindgren that made use of xerography and The Nutcracker adaptation (1973) that presented a familiar story without a single spoken word.
One of the most political was Andrei Khrzhanovsky, whose surrealist film The Glass Harmonica (1968) was severely cut by censors, but shelved nevertheless. Anatoly Petrov is known as the founder of the cinema journal Vesyolaya Karusel (The Happy Merry-Go-Round, since 1969) that gave an opportunity to many young directors to make their first own films. Among them were Leonid Nosyrev, Valery Ugarov, Eduard Nazarov, Ivan Ufimcev and others.
Stanislav Sokolov started to make movies that brought the art of puppet animation to a new height. His approach, characterized by complex animation structures and multiple special effects can well be observed in The Big Underground Ball (1987, after Andersen) or Black and White Film (1985), which won a prize in Zagreb.
The 1970s saw the birth of the Soviet Union's most popular animation series, Nu, Pogodi! (Just you wait!), directed by Vyacheslav Kotyonochkin. These seemingly simple miniatures about a wolf chasing a hare through Soviet-style cartoon worlds owe a great deal of their popularity to the cunning subtexts built into their parts.
Adventures of Mowgli made by Soyuzmultfilm was released as five animated shorts between 1967 and 1971. The movie was not conceived as a reaction to the Disney adaptation, even the first episode was also released in 1967. It appeared more adult and on spirit is more closer to Kipling's book. In 1973, the five films were combined into a single 96-minute feature film. Soyuzmultfilm's Winnie-the-Pooh trilogy was also different from Disney adaptation, and for decades, these films were a hits for East European viewers.
Anatoly Petrov, the founder of The Happy Merry-Go-Round (Russian: Весёлая карусель, 1969), has shown extreme realism (close to photorealistic) in his later films, most notable of which was science fiction Polygon (Russian: Полигон, 1977). His colleague Gennady Sokolsky tried to use attractive characters in his films, combined with ambient soundtrack: Serebryanoe kopytce (Russian: Серебряное копытце, 1977), Myshonok Pik (Russian: Мышонок Пик, 1978), The Adventures of Scamper the Penguin (Russian: Приключения пингвинёнка Лоло, 1986–1987, with Kinjiro Yoshida).
Roman Kachanov made numerous films for children, starting from puppet animation (The Mitten (1967), Cheburashka series), and later with traditional animation in famous animated movie The Mystery of the Third Planet based on Alice: The Girl from Earth books by writer Kir Bulychov (1981).
One of the most famous Russian animators is Yuriy Norshteyn. His films Little Hedgehog in the Fog (1975) and Tale of Tales (1979) show not only technical mastery (although not smooth animation), but also an unrivaled magic beauty. Tale of Tales was elected best animation film of all time during the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles, and again in 2002.
Other directors were more able to cope with the changes that this time brought; they even commented on it in their films. Garri Bardin's Little Red Ridinghood et le Wolf (1991) not only provoked by including a foreign language into the title, it also was full of allusions to the upcoming end of communism. Aleksandr Tatarskiy even managed to found his own studio (Pilot) in 1988, where he produced absurd films inspired by the Zagreb School. Yuriy Norshteyn and three other leading animators (Fyodor Khitruk, Andrei Khrzhanovsky, and Eduard Nazarov) founded a school and studio in 1993 which exists to this day, called SHAR Studio.
In the late days of Studio Ekran (then Multtelefilm), Gennady Tishchenko introduced elements of anime style in Russian animation (Vampires of Geona Russian: Вампиры Геоны, 1991, AMBA Russian: АМБА, 1994–1995).
Russian animation today
After the end of the Soviet Union, the situation for Russian animators changed dramatically. On one hand, State subsidies diminished significantly. On the other hand, the number of studios competing for that amount of money rose a good deal. Most of the studios during the 1990s lived on animation for advertisement and on doing commissioned works for big studios from the United States and elsewhere. Nevertheless, there were a few very successful international co-productions, e.g. Aleksandr Petrov's (former Sverdlovsk Film Studio animator) Oscar-winning The Old Man and the Sea (1999, from Ernest Hemingway's novel) or Stanislav Sokolov's The Winter's Tale (1999, from William Shakespeare's play) that earned the director an Emmy.
Despite the hardships, Natalya Lukinykh has estimated that Russian animated films won about twice as many prestigious international awards in the 1990s as Russian live-action films. As Russia's economic situation became increasingly stable, so did the market for animation, and during the last three years a number of feature-length animation films from Russian studios have emerged (e.g. Melnitsa Animation Studio's Little Longnose, 2003, from Wilhelm Hauff's fairy tale, and Solnechny Dom Studio's 2006 Prince Vladimir, based on early history of Rus' – the highest-grossing Russian animated film to date). While the Russian animation community is yet far from reaching the splendor it possessed before the end of the Soviet Union, a significant recovery is being made and it is becoming more and more clear that the revived Russian animation industry will be very different from what it was in the late 1980s. According to Andrei Dobrunov, head of Solnechny Dom, several Russian studios are currently working on some ten animated feature films. 
Osobennyj , released July 31, 2006, was Russia's first CG-animated feature film. About 8 such films are now in production by various studios . At the same time, Soyuzmultfilm has partnered up with Mikhail Shemyakin and is working on Gofmaniada, a puppet-animated feature film which is deliberately being made entirely without computers. In 2007, the Morevna Project was launched, aiming at creating a science fiction re-telling the folk-tale of Marya Morevna as an anime primarily by using the free software Synfig tool and releasing it under a Creative Commons license. Other popular Russian Internet cartoons include Masyanya and Mr. Freeman. A corporate collaboration between the Japanese Studio 4°C and Russia's Molot Entertainment also produced the anime film First Squad: The Moment of Truth (2009), which won the Kommersant newspaper's prize.
Beginning in 2009, animation entered a new crisis as Goskino indefinitely postponed funding for all projects, and for the 2010 budget the state cut animation funding by half. The animation community reacted by appealing to the President and the public.   In 2010, many of the major studios, including Pilot, were either closed or on the verge of shutting down. The vast majority of studios had relied on state support to some extent, and Goskino did not fulfill any of their contractual obligations to pay for the films that they had ordered and which the studios had already produced. In addition, Disney has been accused of using anti-competitive practices to sideline domestic Russian competition on TV channels.
The Centre of National Film CG animated film Space Dogs, released on March 18, 2010 and about the Soviet space dogs Strelka and Belka, received an English release on June 8, 2012 and spawned a broader franchise. Wizart Animation, alongside InlayFilm, also produced a new CG film version of The Snow Queen (2012), spawning a new franchise with sequels The Snow Queen 2 (2014) and The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice (2016), alongside their first fully original concept Sheep and Wolves (2016). Although these films have ultimately been successful in Russia, their quality of motion has been questioned in the West upon home release and limited theatrical run.
Animaccord Animation Studio has had success in CG television animation with its children's series Masha and the Bear (2009–present), whose emphasis on pantomime has helped it export outside of the country, premièring on the US version of Netflix in August 2015. Another long running, educational, children's series by Melnitsa Animation Studio called Luntik has aired since September 1, 2006. An earlier success in this market was Kikoriki which aired from May 7, 2004 until 2012, produced by Petersburg Animation Studio with assistance from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. English-language distribution rights to the series were acquired by 4Kids Entertainment from worldwide distributor Fun Game Media, Munich and began airing as part of The CW4Kids block on The CW on September 13, 2008, under the name GoGoRiki. In 2011 a prequel feature film was released entitled Kikoriki. Team Invincible and further films are planned. A connecting factor in many recent Russian animated efforts is Timur Bekmambetov, whose company Bazelevs has helped produce, finance and promote Kikoriki and The Snow Queen.
List of highest-grossing films
According to Kinopoisk.ru, the highest grossing Russian animated feature films, as of early 2015, are the following:
|1||Три богатыря на дальних берегах
||$31 505 876||2012||Animation, Fairy tale||An interpretation of medieval Russian folklore||Kostantin Feoktistov
|2||Иван Царевич и серый волк
||$24 830 497||2011||Animation, Fairy tale||An interpretation of medieval Russian folklore||Vladimir Toropchin
|3||Иван Царевич и Серый волк 2
||$20 962 988||2013||Animation, Fairy tale||An interpretation of medieval Russian folklore||Vladimir Toropchin
|4||Три богатыря. Ход конём
||$19 390 136||2015||Animation, Fairy tale||An interpretation of medieval Russian folklore||Konstantin Feoktistov
|5||Три богатыря и Шамаханская царица
||$19 010 585||2010||Animation, Fairy tale||An interpretation of medieval Russian folklore||Sergey Glezin
In popular culture
- An episode of The Simpsons called "Krusty Gets Kancelled" features a parody of the Communist Bloc animation, a cat and mouse duo known as Worker and Parasite.
- In 2004 the Israeli couple Yonathan and Masha Zur, has released a documentary film about Russian Animation in Soviet Times, called Magia Russica.
Popular Animation Studios
- Melnitsa Animation Studio
- Petersburg Animation Studio
- Animaccord Animation Studio
- Wizart Animation
- History of animation
- Masters of Russian Animation
- Encyclopedia of Domestic Animation
- KROK International Animated Films Festival
- Open Russian Festival of Animated Film
- Kisselgoff, Anna. Critic's Notebook; Pioneering Russian Films Show Ballet Master's Wit. New York Times. January 14, 2005. Accessed on: June 23, 2009.
- Lord, Peter. The start of stop-frame. The Guardian. November 14, 2008. Accessed on: June 23, 2009.
- Nina Alovert. Belated Premier. Past Pages Come to Life article from the Russian Bazaar magazine, January, 2005 (in Russian)
- Fyodor Lopukhov (1966). Sixty Years in Ballet. — Moscow: Iskusstvo, 368 pages
- Fyodor Lopukhov (1972). Choreographic Candors. — Moscow: Iskusstvo, 216 pages
- Pordenone diary 2008 – day seven at The Bioscope blog, October 22, 2008
- The Program "The Arceology of Cinema": Alexander Shiryaev by the Kinoproba film festival
- Larisa Malyukova (2013). OVERcinema. Modern Russian animation. — Saint Petersburg: Umnaya Masha, p. 264, 265 ISBN 978-5-9904193-1-5
- Sergey Kapkov (2006). Encyclopedia of Domestic Animation, p. 14-16
- Animated Soviet Propaganda review at The New York Times, March 13, 2007
- Alexander Buskin's filmography at Animator.ru
- Giannalberto Bendazzi (2016). Animation: A World History: Volume I: Foundations - The Golden Age at Google Books, p. 80, 79, 175
- Semyon Ginzburg. Bolvashka's Adventures article from the Hand-Drawn and Stop-Motion Animated Films book (1957) (in Russian)
- Bolvashka's Adventures at Animator.ru
- Aleksandr Lukich Ptushko article from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia
- Gulliverkino: Far Side of the Fairy Tale. Aleksandr Ptushko - Innovations article from Iskusstvo Kino, May 5, 2015 (in Russian)
- The Adventures of the Little Chinese at kinoglaz.fr
- Svetlana Kim, Aleksandr Deryabin. A Breath of Freedom. Diaries of Mikhail Tsekhanovsky at the Notes by Film Historian magazine, 2001 ISSN 0235-8212 (in Russian)
- Now in America, the Films of the Soviet Walt Disney article from The New York Times, December 30, 2001
- Nikolai Mayorov. The Color of Soviet Cinema from the Film Expert's Notes magazine № 98, 2011 (in Russian)
- John Riley (2005). Dmitri Shostakovich: A Life in Film. — New York: I.B.Tauris, 150 pages ISBN 1 85043 709 2
- Nikolai Izvolov. From the History of Drawing Sound in the USSR at the Notes by Film Historian magazine, 2001 ISSN 0235-8212 (in Russian)
- The Crow's Dance by Nikolai Voinov, 1933
- "Back in the 1960s... I remember the time when I watched A Night on Bald Mountain... Then I watched it again, and again, and again... This artist is a national heritage". Yuriy Norshteyn on Alexandre Alexeieff, memorial evening at the State Museum of Literature, September 20, 2011 (in Russian)
- Sergei Asenin (1983). The Wisdom of Fiction: Masters of Animation about Themselves and Their Art. — Moscow: Iskusstvo, p. 37
- Kirill Malyantovich. How they fought cosmopolites at Soyuzmultfilm article from the Notes by Film Historian magazine, 2001 ISSN 0235-8212 (in Russian)
- Ivan Ivanov-Vano (1980). Frame by Frame. — Moscow: Iskusstvo, 239 pages, p. 98, 102, 112-123, 150
- Grandfather Ivan (How Grandfather Ivan Drove Death Away) color restoration by Nikolai Mayorov and Vladimir Kotovsky, Nikolai Mayorov's official blog (in Russian)
- The Art Faculty at the official VGIK website
- Eleonora Guylan, Peter Bagrov. Once upon a time... Memoirs about the Leningrad pre-war animation at the Notes by Film Historian magazine, 2005 ISSN 0235-8212 (in Russian)
- Anna Belonogova. Heroes of Soyuzmultfilm at the VGIK website
- Viktor Eryomin (2016). Biographies of the Great Fairy Tale Writers. — Moscow: Osteon Fond, 531 pages ISBN 9781772466751
- Peter Rollberg (2016). Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema. — Rowman & Littlefield, p. 328 ISBN 978-1-4422-6842-5
- The Stars of Russian Animation. Film 4. Eugene Migunov by Irina Margolina and Eduard Nazarov, 2012 (in Russian)
- Sergei Asenin (2012). The World of Animation // The Tropes of Soviet Animation, p. 46. — Moscow: Print-on-Demand, 303 pages ISBN 978-5-458-30516-7
- Giannalberto Bendazzi (2016). Animation: A World History: Volume II: The Birth of a Style - The Three Markets at Google Books, p. 81, 287
- Larisa Malyukova's interview with Leonid Shvartsman at Animator.ru (in Russian)
- Karandash and Klyaksa — Merry Hunters at Animator.ru
- Familiar Pictures at Animator.ru
- Monsters of Animation. Boris Stepantsev at the official 2×2 channel (in Russian)
- Max Zherebchevsky: "I create all kind of wonders out of fear" interview with an art director, August 30, 2012 (in Russian)
- Iosif Boyarsky (1995). Literary Collages. — Moscow: Russian Binding (online magazine, in Russian)
- SMARTNEWS Keeping you current Russia Has Its Own Classic Version of an Animated Winnie-the-Pooh
- The Morevna Project: Anime with Synfig and Blender Archived August 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "4°C's First Squad Wins Award at Moscow Int'l Fim Fest". Anime News Network. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
- ‘The Snow Queen’ review: Don’t drink that potion; you’ll fart incessantly (Video) in Examiner.com
- "GoGoRiki confirmed for fall 2008". Retrieved 2008-08-11.[dead link]
- "4Kids announces fall 2008 Lineups for Fox and The CW". Archived from the original on January 4, 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
- Check Out a Trailer for The Snow Queen, ComingSoon.Net (article by Silas Lesnick), October 28, 2012
- Bendazzi, Giannalberto. 1994. Cartoons. One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. London/Bloomington: John Libbey/Indiana University Press.
- Giesen, Rolf. 2003. Lexikon des Trick- und Animationsfilms. Berlin: Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf.
- Leslie, Ester. 2002. Hollywood Flatlands. Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde. London, New York: Verso.
- Pilling, Jayne (Ed.). 1997. A Reader in Animation Studies. London et al.: John Libbey.
- Асенин, Сергей Владимирович. 1986. Мир мультфильма. Москва: Искусство.
- Венжер, Наталья Яковлевна (Ed.). 1990. Сотворение фильма. Несколько интервью по служебным вопросам. Москва: Союз Кинематографистов СССР.
- Иванов-Вано, Иван Петрович. 1978. Кадр за кадром, Москва: Искусство.
- Орлов, Алексей Михайлович. 1995. Аниматограф и его анима: психогенные аспекты экранных технологий. Москва: Импето.
- Animator.ru – the homepage of the Russian animation community. Includes an English-language database
- Soyuzmultfilm homepage The most famous Russian animation studio's home page (in Russian)
- Officially licensed YouTube channel for Soyuzmultfilm animation in Russian (English subtitles promised)
- www.pilot-film.com Another famous studio's homepage (in Russian and English)
- Animated Century. The Stars of Russian Animation documentary series (in Russian, English website)
- Russian Insider – a blog focusing on current and past Russian/Soviet animation
- Mountain of Gems series at the official YouTube channel (in Russian, English, Spanish and Chinese)
- Blog about Russian Animation Influence in Cuban Culture
- Soviet Cartoons Online - in English and Russian, with Russian and English subtitles
- The St. Petersburg Times (Russia) – a May 2006 article about the film Prince Vladimir and the future of the animation industry in Russia
- Redrawing Russian History (May 18, 2006)
- In-depth history of the appalling and criminal happenings at Soyuzmultfilm during the 1990s (in Russian)
- An overview of Russian animated feature films in the 1990s and early 2000s (in Russian)
- Russian animation in search of a hero Maria Tereschenko, Russia Beyond the Headlines, December 17, 2009 (English)