Refereed article in compilation book (A3)

Doing Their Master's Bidding: Domesticated Animals in Kukryniksy's Pravda Political Cartoons

List of Authors: Reeta Kangas

Place: Bielefeld

Publication year: 2015

Book title *: Tiere, Texte, Transformationen: Kritische Perspektiven der Human-Animal Studies

ISBN: 978-3-8376-2873-9


Cow, dog, swine, chicken — visual propaganda frequently uses animal symbolism to describe the enemy’s nature. This is the case also with Soviet political cartoons, which had a significant role within the country’s propaganda machine. This paper uses the Soviet cartoonist trio Kukryniksy’s work published in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda during 1965–1982 to examine the ways in which animal symbolism was used to characterise the enemy and further the gap between the Soviet sphere and the West.

The relationship between humans and their domesticated animals is a special one. Therefore this paper analyses the ways in which domesticated animals were used in Soviet political cartoons to create ridicule and hostility towards the ideological enemy, as well as, by contrast, to promote the Soviet ideology. Different animal symbols communicated different ideas of the enemy country’s nature to the audience. They were used within varying cultural frameworks to manipulate the readership's views on the Cold War and the nature of the enemy. This reveals some of the mindsets in which humans regard other animals and project certain human-invented attributes and characteristics to them.

With the use of animal symbolism the Soviet propaganda attributed to the enemy the characteristics of the specific animal in question. Thus, for example, when the enemy was depicted as somebody’s lapdog, the audience understood the relation between these two to be one of a master and a dog; the dog being eager to please its master. In this context we can see how the Soviet propagandists used animals that in the nation’s mind had certain attributes and characteristics that could be used to describe a person’s or nation’s nature. Furthermore, it examines the different characteristics that are attached to various domesticated animals.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 09:25