G4 Monografiaväitöskirja

Cartoon Fables : Animal Symbolism in Kukryniksy’s Pravda Political Cartoons, 1965–1982

Julkaisun tekijät: Kangas Reeta

Kustantaja: University of Turku

Paikka: Turku

Julkaisuvuosi: 2017

ISBN: ISBN 978-951-29-6714-8

eISBN: ISBN 978-951-29-6715-5

Verkko-osoite: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-29-6715-5


Recent conflicts
have highlighted that
international and domestic
propaganda campaigns, particularly in
Russia, are once
again becoming more
significant. To understand
this phenomenon, it is important to study the historical roots of
propaganda in Russia, the tools and
mechanisms that propagandists use
to influence the
political discourse. Animal symbolism is one of the most
important of these tools. It is often used to belittle the enemy by describing
their “non-human” nature.
Furthermore, in using
animals to depict
negative characteristics of their
enemies, propaganda also
inadvertently builds upon
and develops negative cultural
stereotypes that are associated with those animals, thus creating a sort of feedback
loop wherein the one strengthens the other.

This dissertation
examines the ways
in which the
famous Soviet propaganda
artist trio Kukryniksy used
animal symbolism in
their political cartoons
published during the
rule of Leonid Brezhnev
(1965—1982). The primary material of the research consists of 117 animal cartoons that
were published in
the Soviet Union’s
main news source,
Pravda. Methodologically and in
its theoretical approach,
this dissertation draws
from a range
of multidisciplinary fields, including
Russian Studies, Propaganda
Studies, Art History,
and Human-Animal Studies. Its
theoretical approach is
largely based on
frame theory and cartoon theory. The thesis is mainly
based on qualitative methods. It relies on composition and discourse analysis,
paying particular attention to how the cartoons worked within and reinforced
preexisting cultural frameworks. There is also a quantitative element based
around a content analysis of the frequency of various elements in the

The analysis
of the frames
Kukryniksy created and
the techniques they
used, shows that their animal symbols derived their
significance from the animals’ proximity to the humans’ sphere of
living, their behavioural
traits, utilitarian functions,
and linguistic and
cultural nuances. With the
use of culturally
dependent references and
different cartooning techniques,
Kukryniksy constructed a framework in which the animal metaphor revealed the “true”
nature of the enemy and taught the audience the moral of the story of
international politics. As such, Kukryniksy’s political cartoons are part of a
long tradition of Russian and Soviet propaganda that used animal symbolism to
describe the enemy and divide the world into two spheres, “us” and “them”. By
analysing this historical propaganda, this dissertation thus also
helps us to
better understand and
deconstruct contemporary propaganda campaigns.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 10:32