Cossacks

Cossacks (Козаки) is a series of Ukrainian short animated films that appeared between 1967 and 1995. There are nine episodes, most about 15 minutes long.

The films are about three Zaporozhian Cossacks. (Cossacks are historical ethnic Ukrainians known for their fighting prowess and are considered a major part of Ukraine’s proud cultural heritage. Zaporozhian Cossacks in particular come from the Dnieper River area in what is now southeastern Ukraine.) The characters are known as Burmilo (Бурмило), who is mostly known for his cleverness; Korotun (Коротун, the short one), who is small but bold and aggressive; and Silach (Силач, the strong one), who is strong but also sentimental.

Rather than being a straight historical retelling of the lives of the Cossacks, the films go for something a bit more unexpected—the Cossacks have all sorts of adventures over the series, involving people from all countries and time periods of the world as well as aliens and gods. During the Soviet period the films were produced by Kyivnaukfilm (Київнаукфільм); in independent Ukraine they were produced by Ukranimafilm (Укранімафільм). All of the episodes feature Ukrainian folk songs.

In 2016, the series had a sort of resurgence, in different format. The studio Baraban released a new set of episodes called Cossacks. Football (Козаки. Футбол)—there are 26 episodes, each only two minutes long. Other than the three main characters and the animation style, there are few similarities with the Soviet show. The Cossacks’ adventures are now limited to playing football in countries all over Europe, with each episode devoted to a different country. The films were showed on the Ukrainian channel 1+1 and can all be found online legally on the “online movie theater” Megogo.

 

Directors: Volodymyr Dakhno (Володимир Дахно), Tadeush Pavlenko (Тадеуш Павленко)
Production studios: Kyivnaukfilm (Київнаукфільм), Ukranimafilm (Укранімафільм), Baraban
TV channel: 1+1 and others

 

The new series’s site on 1+1 and on Megogo.

 

The first three episodes/films in the original iteration of Cossacks:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.