Winnie the Pooh is one of the most recognizable characters in popular culture. A pure icon of childhood innocence and friendship. The Disney version of the character (first introduced in 1966) is known worldwide and is estimated to sell over $1 Billion in merchandise annually. But what if I told you that on the opposite side of the earth around the same time another version of the iconic character was being made?
In 1969 the Soviet animation company, Soyuzmultfilm, released their own version of Winnie the Pooh or “Vinni Pukh”. Director Fyodor Khitruk, decided to adapt the stories of A. A. Milne. Along with Russian translator, Boris Zakhoder, they created their own version of the classic tale. In total there were three Russian Winnie the Pooh, shorts, similar to how Disney released three shorts.
The first story was simply called Winnie-the-Pooh and followed the story of Pooh and the Honey Tree. However one major change was the removal of Christopher Robin in favor of Piglet. The reason was because in traditional Soviet fashion they wanted to present all characters as equal and did not want a “superior being” solving their problems.
The second short, Winnie-the-Pooh Pays a Visit, released in 1971. The story follows Pooh and Piglet paying Rabbit a visit and Pooh getting stuck in the door after eating too much honey. In this version Rabbit wears a red shirt and glasses.
The third and final short, Winnie-the-Pooh and a Busy Day, released in 1972. The story follows Pooh and Piglet trying to cheer up Eeyore on his Birthday. Owl also makes an appearance but in this version appears to be female. The original story this was based on didn’t get adapted by Disney until 1983.
It is really interesting to see that during the same time Disney was making their version another country on the opposite side of the earth was making their own.
Though this is a rather strange interpretation of the character if you are curious enough perhaps you might find a little enjoyment. But remember, in Soviet Russia Bear does not eat honey, honey eats bear.
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