Published: February 26, 2017

Since 2009, the Republic of Tatarstan has begun to develop its own native animation industry—meaning that Tatar language-learners (and Tatar children) have a new source of material at their disposal. Many of the cartoons are released in multiple languages, including not only Tatar, but also Russian and English.

The cartoons come from Tatarmultfilm (Татармультфильм), a studio founded in 2009; it is the only animation studio in Tatarstan. The studio’s site boasts that it produces about two hours of animation every year, distributed among about 80 different cartoons. Many of the cartoons are educational: the studio’s website states that cartoons are children’s first point of contact with their national country, and that they help instill morality and humanism in children’s souls. Tatarmultfilm aims to ensure that “the new generation of Tatarstan always remembers their roots, language, folk traditions, holidays, and customs.”

One of its most lauded cartoons is the Zilantovy Fairy Tales (Зилантовые сказки), a trilogy of three cartoons that won the award for Best Animated Film at the 10th Kazan International Festival for Muslim Film (X Казанского международного фестиваля мусульманского кино). The trilogy, including the short films “Bee and Wasp” (“Бал корты белән Шөпшә” / “Пчела и Оса”), “Who Is the Strongest?” (“Кем көчле?” / “Кто самый сильный?”), and “Goose and Swan” (“Каз белән Аккош” / “Гусенок и Лебеденок”), tells the story of Kazan, Tatarstan’s capital city. This is done through the words of Zilantik, the great-great-grandson of Zilant, the embodied symbol of Kazan. Zilantik tells of the Kazan residents’ goodness and industriousness.

Another lauded cartoon of Tatartmultfilm’s, “Conservator” (“Хранитель”), has an environmental message. The film describes ecological issues in today’s world and urges children and other viewers to protect their environment. The hero, Shural, guards the natural resources of Tatarstan and demonstrates the value and beauty of the Tatar lands. The film won eighth prize at a Russian animation festival held in Suzdal, Russia.


The studio’s official site, with links to many of its films.

An affiliated site where you can watch many recent Tatar cartoons.

See Ай һәм Кояш (Moon and Sun), based on a folktale, in Tatar:

About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied 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.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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