Watch the episode of the children’s comic cinemagazine Yeralash (Mishmash). This episode is a wonderful example of a Soviet cultural creation that helps to enrich an often standard picture of the Soviet past. Created by a director and talented producer Boris Grachevsky this TV series was really very popular among children as well as adults in the 80s and 90s. It has been filmed at Gorky Film Studio since 1974 and used humorous stories for the shooting scripts. A typical episode pictures everyday scenes from school kids’ life and focuses on problems most kids and adults knew about but avoided talking of. This TV series gave viewers not just something to laugh at but revealed some features of the trivial social interactions among children that are hidden when tackling them directly.
Calling names is still a common childhood behavior and a frequent precursor to bullying. In the schools in Russia teasing is ubiquitous and is usually done for feeling and looking different, for inability to pronounce words correctly, about someone’s race and nationality etc. While some nicknames are just modified versions of the formal given name, others spotlight a particular character trait or a physical attribute. Nicknames can praise, some nicknames are downright hostile, they can also be sarcastic, yet at times nicknames can be insulting. A nickname can define or even create an identity and may have a profound impact on schooling experience of an individual.
This episode features all of the little moments I mentioned above.