Soviet History in caricatures by “Crocodile/Krokodil” magazine (1922-1937)
Title: Soviet History in caricatures by “Crocodile/Krokodil” magazine (1922-1937)
Author: Sergey Mostovshikov (editor)
Cover: paperback + case, 784 pages
Publisher: XX Century Crocodile, 2014
Shipping: Worldwide free shipping
ISBN: 978-5-9905934-1-1, 978-5-9905934-0-4, 978-5-9905934-2-8, 978-5-9905934-3-5
Krokodil (Russian: “Крокодил”, “crocodile”) was a satirical magazine published in the Soviet Union. It was founded in 1922 and named after Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s satirical short story, The Crocodile. At that time, a large number of satirical magazines existed, such as Zanoza and Prozhektor. Nearly all of them eventually disappeared.
Although political satire was dangerous during much of the Soviet period, Krokodil was given considerable license to lampoon political figures and events. Typical and safe topics for lampooning in the Soviet era were the lack of initiative and imagination promoted by the style of an average Soviet middle-bureaucrat, and the problems produced by drinking on the job by Soviet workers. Krokodil also ridiculed capitalist countries and attacked various political, ethnic and religious groups that allegedly opposed the Soviet system. For example, at the time of the Doctors’ plot it published a number of anti-semitic articles and cartoons.
Many notable persons contributed to the magazine, including Vladimir Mayakovsky, Kukriniksy, and Yuliy Ganf.
Similar magazines existed in all the Union republics, and in several ASSRs and in other states of the Soviet bloc, e.g. Starshel (“Wasp”) in Bulgaria, Eulenspiegel in East Germany, Urzică (“The Nettle”) in Romania and Dikobraz (“porcupine”) in Czechoslovakia.
Among the vocal compositions of Dmitri Shostakovich, who is known for his satirical character, there are 5 Romances on texts from Krokodil Magazine (1965), taken from the section of magazine where were published real-life nonsense texts.