Whether it is necessary to be afraid of «Russian bear»?
Since the XVI century the bear even more often appears on cards, as a symbol of Russia. However the leading role in fixing of this association was played by the British caricaturists. From the middle the XIX interests of British and Russia constantly faced – that in Central Asia (this opposition received the name «Big game»), in the Crimea, in Europe, in the Far East. The English lion and Russian bear became heroes of caricatures constantly.
Caricature of times of «Big game» in Central Asia between Russia and Great Britain. John Tenniel, commons.wikimedia.org
To take, for example, caricatures of times of «Big game». Here the Afghan emir costs between the Bear and the Lion, and from below the signature: «Rescue me from my friends!» Here the Bear sat down on the Cat (Persia), and it is watched discontentedly by the Lion (the signature as is ironic: «As among friends»).
And here the French caricature of 1893 concerning the Franco-Russian union. On it in one bed the naked girl France who is artfully caressing Russian Bear is represented. Signature: «Tell, the darling, I will give you heart, but whether I will receive your fur coat in the winter?»
Leonard Raven-Hill, commons.wikimedia.org
Adolphe Leon Willette, commons.wikimedia.org
Jacob Priluker, viktorkulikov.blogspot.com
Kladderadatch magazine, 1942, digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de
Sergey Guneev, commons.wikimedia.org
It would seem, what a bad bear in image? However Englishmen treated it absolutely in a certain key: Russia – the wild uncivilized country, not very clever, clumsy, trustful and obedient if it to hold on a lead, but dangerous if it to anger or not to constrain.
In this plan R. Kipling’s poem «World with the Bear» is very indicative. In it the history of the crippled Kashmir hunter which regretted once a bear begging him was told and did not shoot – for what right there cruelly paid. In youth I did not see any background in this verse, however it there was, and the most concrete.
«World with the Bear» it was written in August, 1898. That year Russia participated in the conflict in Manchuria and asked Britain to disengage the armies from Port Arthur. Englishmen first agreed, yet did not learn that Russia secretly was going to buy the ships from Germany – the worst enemy of Britain. Besides in the same August the 1898th emperor Nikolay II suggested to call the first "peace" conference in the Hague to accept on it more humane rules of conducting wars, and also to forbid the most brutal types of weapon (like explosive bullets or gases).
Here true «the singer of the British Empire» Kipling also tried to warn the poem Europe against excessive trustfulness to Russia. He said that though verses are based on the real facts, they, first of all, «allegory of the introduction of Russia to civilized Europe». Sending «World with a bear» in "Tayms", he asked to print a verse not in literary, and a political column. Kipling wrote: «The column in "Tayms" is necessary to me to reach people respectable which believe that Russia can behave in a civilized way».
R. Kipling «World with a bear» (A. Onoshkovich-Yatsyn Lane):
… When on racks it will rise, the person and an animal of infections,
When it will cover rage and rage of svinyachy eyes,
When it will combine paws, with hung the head.
Here it is minute of death, minute World.
Toothless, bezguby, beznosy, asking passersby a tax,
Matun, the awful beggar, repeats the same again.
Having clamped between knees of a rifle, hands holding over fire,
Careless white people are occupied in the afternoon.
Again and again the same goes on it to late darkness:
«Do not conclude world with the Bear that goes, as we».
However, Kipling’s opinion on Russia well was expressed in the story "Former": «Understand me correctly: any Russian – the sweetest person, while will not get drunk. As the Asian it is charming. And only when insists, that to Russian treated not as most western of east people, and, on the contrary, as to most east of western, turns into ethnic misunderstanding with which, the right, is hard to deal».
It is interesting that in 1911 Jacob Priluker who has emigrated from Russia to Britain, published the book in pictures where tried to reconcile an English lion with Russian bear. However, in quite peculiar manner – on a plot the lion helps a bear to be released from a cage (it is necessary to understand, cages «barbarous totalitarianism…»).
The image «Russian bear» – wild and stupid – perfectly was used also by others «the European partners». For example, in the German magazine of 1942 the caricature representing the Soviet Union in the form of a bear roaring from pain, lost the paw which symbolized Sevastopol grasped by nazis is drawn. And here the Latvian caricature of 1991 which is gloating over concerning disintegration of the USSR – on it a bear in a peak-cap comes to the doctor with the complaint: «The doctor, seems to me, I slowly break up». It is interesting that the bear in both drawings is not terrible, and is pity, moreover – in it pork lines are obviously looked through…
Caricatures, of course, offensive, however the bear Russian worse to treat did not become. On the contrary, accepted this symbol, having put in it only a positive. Yes, we are huge, but are not so silly. Ourselves разберёмся as us to live in "taiga", and here to anger us, really, it is not necessary… Not without reason the bear became a symbol of pro-presidential party "Edinaya Rossiya". Her competitors – «Fair Russia» – right there took on an emblem of a tiger – the unique serious rival of a brown bear in the nature.
But, probably, the symbol of the Moscow Olympic Games of 1980 became the most nice «Russian bear». To choose for a role of the Olympic symbol of a "native" bear the State Committee solved in 1977. To the Soviet artists it was thrown – to prepare a call sketches where the Bear would personify force, daring and kindness.
As a result won Victor Chizhikov’s sketch which nicknamed the Bear cub Mischa though according to the artist the full name of the hero was Mikhaylo Potapych Toptygin. The unique unresolved problem there was a traditional Olympic symbolics which surely should be present on the character. Siskins remembered that the idea came to it literally in a dream – and on Mischa there was the well-known belt in flowers of five parts of the world and with a fastener in the form of the Olympic rings.
The Olympic bear cub was duplicated everywhere – on badges, circles and cards, in animated films and in the form of toys… But especially effectively he acted at the Olympic Games closing ceremony. Huge "screen" from four and a half thousand live people which in the necessary order lifted color boards, forming a certain picture – including Bear cub was one of "counters" of ceremony. When Olympic flame went out, on Mischa’s cheek the touching tear ran. This creative idea arose casually when during one of rehearsals someone forgot to lift the board.
However the most touching moment came later when over stadium the big rubber doll of the Bear cub filled with helium rose, and departed to the sky under sounds of a song of Pakhmutova and Dobronravova «Good-bye, our tender Mischa». By the way, to fly vertically a doll learned only when to it weighted feet, and to paws adhered balloons…
Having made the farewell flight, Mischa landed on Vorobyovy Gory. Any time the doll stood on VDNH, and then it placed on a warehouse where the kind «Russian bear» symbolically was eaten by rats…