Top 10 Russian Cartoons to Watch Now


I’m a huge fan of Russian and Soviet animations. Even these days, I like to re-watch favorite episodes from my childhood. What’s great is that, in addition to being entertaining, they’re extremely useful for learning Russian. Their simple dialogues and plots are a fun and easy way to practice understanding the language.

In this post, I’ve gathered the best Russian and Soviet cartoons to both share my passion for them and make your Russian learning experience more diverse and exciting. This list includes some plots that you’ve probably heard before, as well as some unique, lesser-known ones. These animations are also provided with English subtitles or professional dubs (if subtitles aren’t displayed, turn them on by clicking the subtitles button in the lower right corner of the video).

I found that many of my top picks were Soviet, so I made sure to gather a bunch of new Russian cartoons with English subtitles, that you can find below.

1. Wow, a talking fish! (Ух ты, говорящая рыба!)

  • No audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1983

I don’t know a cartoon that had a greater impact on my childhood and how I understood the world at the time than Wow, a talking fish!. I’ll never forget the phrase: “Do a good deed and throw it in the water. It will not vanish, but will return to you with goodness”. The antagonistic, “kind” magician, Ehehei, evoked a mixture of fear and exhilaration in me.

Eugene Pustoshkin, Sahakyants R. Wow, a talking fish! (Armenfilm, 1983)

2. Once Upon a Dog (Жил был пёс)

  • Professional audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1982

Once Upon a Dog is a story of true friendship between a dog and a wolf who live in a Ukranian village. Even though the animation is about animals, they’re personalities and situations are very human. Unlike many other animations, Once Upon a Dog only had two episodes. I was glad to find this cartoon with quality dubbing. To this day, almost 40 years since the cartoon was released, I hear quotes from this animation.


Commie Tunes, Жил-был пёс (1982). Профессиональная английская озвучка. Двойные субтитры.

3. Masha and the Bear (Маша и медведь)

  • Professional audio
  • English subtitles
  • 2009

Masha and the Bear is one of the best commercial animation projects not only in modern Russia but in the world. It’s available on its own YouTube channel or on Netflix. The show has been translated into 25 different languages. It’s so popular because children can easily relate to the protagonist, and the relationship between Masha and the Bear is universally beloved.

Masha and The Bear, Masha and the Bear – 👶🐷New Kids on the Block! 🐷👶 Episode 69

4. I’ll get you! (Ну, погоди!)

  • Professional audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1969

This is the Soviet version of Tom & Jerry. An unlucky, petty wolf is hunting a small, successful hare. His attempts to catch the hare are always doomed to fail, but watching them unfold is always priceless. According to a recent survey, 60% of Russians say that it’s their favorite cartoon of all time. The story is shown over the course of 18 episodes, most of which you can find on this channel.

NuPogodi English, Nu Pogodi Episode 4 – Sportsman Despite Will (1971) [English Dub] [Version 2]

5. Winnie-the-Pooh Goes Visiting (Винни-Пух идёт в гости)

  • Professional audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1971

This is how the famous “Winnie the Pooh” story, by Alan Milne, was re-imagined through the eyes of Soviet animators. While the Disney version is quite lifelike (or as lifelike as animations can get), the Soviet version contains elements of children’s paintings and depicts a fantasy world. It’s animated to look exactly like a children’s book.

Commie Tunes, Винни-Пух идёт в гости (1971). Профессиональная английская озвучка. Двойные субтитры.

6. Snowmaiden (Снегурочка)

  • No audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1952

Around the time when “Cinderella” was released by Disney, young Russian viewers were enjoying “The Snowmaiden”. In some ways, the cartoons are similar, but “The Snowmaiden” includes theater and musical-like elements.

Russian animation eus347 subtitles, The snowmaiden 1952 Snegurochka English & Spanish subtitles Russian opera animation

7. The Mystery of the Third Planet (Tайна третьей планеты)

  • No audio
  • English subtitles
  • 1981

This was the best detective story of my childhood. The Mystery of the Third Planet was based on the novels of a talented writer, Kir Bulichev. The story revolves around little Alice’s space adventures with her father and his friend. This cartoon was also broadcasted in the US; Alice was voiced by Kirsten Dunst, and the Chatterbird was voiced by James Belushi.

Ilyas Zaitsev, The Mystery of the Third Planet 1981 english subtitles Soviet Sci-Fi (Тайна третьей планеты)

8. Midge and Karlsson (Малыш и Карлсон)

  • Professional audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1968

Midge and Karlsson is an animation based on the famous Astrid Lindgren story. However, whoever read the original story will clearly spot differences. The cartoon takes place in a typical, unnamed Soviet city rather than Stockholm, like the book describes. In the original story, Midge is everybody’s favorite son, but in the animation, he’s lonely and emotionally stunted. While the cartoon is fun to watch for children, it also depicts complex feelings, such as Karlson’s jealousy of Midge’s new dog. When you watch it as an adult, you notice many interesting moments such as this.

Commie Tune, Малыш и Карлсон (1968). Профессиональная английская озвучка. Двойные субтитры.

9. Three from Prostokvashino (Трое из простоквашино)

  • Professional audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1978

Three from Prostokvashino is the first movie in a trilogy about a self-made city boy named Uncle Fyodor, who leaves his parents to live independently in a village with his pets. According to an online poll, this cartoon shares third place with Shrack in Russian’s top favorite cartoons. While watching, pay special attention to the dialogue, as some phrases are outdated and differ from modern Russian language.

Commie Tune, Трое из Простоквашино (1978). Профессиональная английская озвучка.

10. Mowgli. Raksha (Маугли. Ракша) 

  • Professional audio
  • Double subtitles
  • 1967

This is the Soviet version of Kipling’s “Mowgli” story. It was released in the same year as Disney’s Jungle Book (1967), but is different in a few ways. Disney’s take is meant for a younger audience, while the Russian version is more adult, depicts fighting, and feels much more tense overall. The American and Russian producers pursued different goals. Disney made a great, entertaining product, while the Russian animators made a work much closer to Kipling’s source material.

Commie Tunes, Mowgli. Raksha (1967). Soviet Cartoon with professional English Voiceover.

New Russian cartoons

In the list above I mainly focused on the animations I grew up with, but time goes by and brand new cartoons emerge. So, here are some cool, modern works that I would totally recommend for anybody to watch. You’ll be surprised by the animation quality!

Алёша Попович и Тугарин Змей, 2004 (Full movie, English Subs)

It’s not a brand new work, but is totally worth watching. It’s a story based on Russian fairytales and legends about brave bogatiry (knights) mixed with hilarious dialogues and jokes.

Три богатыря, Алеша Попович и Тугарин Змей (мультфильм)

Садко, 2017 (Full movie, Еnglish Subs)

Садко is based on ancient Novgorod legends about a smart and inventive musician who could manipulate black magicians and other evil creatures. The cartoon is interesting not only for children but for adults too.

Волки и овцы, 2014 (Full movie, Trailer, Russian Subs)

This cartoon depicts a young and not-so-serious wolf who wants to lead his pack. To do so, he resorts to a magic spell that brings an unpleasant surprise: he turns into a goat! I give it a 10 out of 10 for its great plot.

Иван Царевич и Серый Волк, 2011 (Full movie, Trailer, Russian Subs)

A compelling story about a traditional Russian bogatiry, full of jokes and comical situations. Here you’ll meet traditional protagonists of Russian fairytales and legends: Grey Wolf, the black magician Cashchei, Baba Yaga, and many others.

Три богатыря, Садко (мультфильм)
Три богатыря, Волки и овцы – Трейлер. Новые мультфильмы 2016 года.
Три богатыря, Иван Царевич и Серый Волк (Мультфильм)

Russian cartoon channels on YouTube

Russian cartoons can be used as fun entertainment and as additional language learning material. Below, you’ll see a number of YouTube channels that offer a large number of Russian animations.

Dubbed

Commie Tunes – a platform that provides translations of Soviet animation classics with a professional dub or double English/Russian subs.

Masha and The Bear – an official channel where you can watch famous Masha and the Bear episodes in English.

NuPogodi English – a channel that contains all episodes of the Ну, погоди comic animation. The cartoon contains very few dialogues, but those that take place are carefully dubbed in English.

Subtitled

Russian animation eus347 subtitles – a channel devoted to subbing lesser-known, artsy (yet magnificent) Russian and Soviet animations.

Be Fluent in Russian – a playlist made by the Russian language YouTuber, Denis Fedorov. You can train your Russian comprehension skills with the channel’s Russian – English subs.

Venera Yemel’yanova – a great playlist with a huge selection of Soviet cartoons with English subtitles.

Conclusion

Do you know any Russian cartoons that I didn’t mention here? What are your favorite Russian animations and why? Feel free to share your thoughts, links, and extra resources in the comments below.

Anastasia Korol

Anastasia Korol is an enthusiastic Russian language tutor. She gives effective, goal-oriented lessons to students all over the world. Thousands of people have already followed her Instagram.

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