Friday, September 4, 2015

Russians Fined for Posting Anti-Nazi Donald Duck Cartoon on the Internet

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 4 – Yesterday, a court in Tomsk oblast fined two Russians for posting on the Internet the classic 1942 Donald Duck cartoon, “Der Fuehrer’s Face.” It did so because the cartoon was listed as extremist in 2013, even though or perhaps because under Putin it makes fun of Hitler ( and

            The Walt Disney cartoon, part of American anti-Nazi films during World War II, won its director an Oscar at the time and was subsequently declared one of the 50 best cartoons of all time. But two years ago, it was included on the Russian government’s list of extremist materials (

            In reporting this new action of the Russian judicial system, the SOVA human rights monitoring organization points out that “it is obvious” that courts are not considering each clip separately but choosing instead to prohibit anything listed however incorrectly by Moscow (

            “Such a case,” SOVA continues, “yet again testifies about the unnecessary quality and even harmfulness of the Federal List as an instrument [of the Russian legal system] and serves as a reminder that the best way out of the current situation is to dispense with it altogether,” lest more such outrages happen.

            This ban on an anti-Nazi Disney cartoon is not the first example of this. In May, under pressure from the authorities, the main bookstores in Moscow took off their shelves Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel, “Maus,” which portrayed Nazis as cats and Jews as mice, a work for which its author had won the Pulitzer Prize (

            That action backfired on the Russian authorities, the Moscow publisher of Spiegelman’s novel said. In three days, it sold out its entire print run of the novel, a run that it had calculated would be enough for five months. The decision of the Tomsk court is likely to have the same effect, increasing interest in Donald Duck’s “Der Fueher’s Face.”

            Given the cartoon’s anti-Nazi and anti-dictator messages, that will mean that out of this case at least some good will come.


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