The Binghamton University Libraries are now offering a trial of the Krokodil Digital Archive (Russian: «Крокодил», «Crocodile») via our Trial Databases page.
Krokodil (Crocodile) was the USSR’s most famous and longest-running satirical journal. It was first published in Moscow as the illustrated Sunday supplement for a newspaper on 4 June 1922. Originally called Rabochii (The Worker), then renamed Rabochaia Gazeta like its parent newspaper, the supplement was humorous from the beginning. Satire, mainly in the form of cartoons and poems, featured heavily in the magazine, with one-colour illustrations in its first seven issues. As circulation increased, the editors became convinced of the need for a regular independently numbered journal, and the magazine appeared as Krokodil (after Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s satirical short story, The Crocodile) No.1 (13) for the first time on 27 August 1922 (Stykalin and Kremenskaia 1963: 176-179). The red crocodile pictured on the first edition’s front cover thereafter symbolized the aims of the magazine itself.
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.
The journal represent a collaboration of some of the best artists, writers, and illustrators of the time — including Vladimir Mayakovsky, Kukriniksy, Yuliy Ganf, Vitaly Goryayev, and many others.
This trial will be active until February 26, 2015. For access, go to the Libraries Trial Databases page.