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The Irish For: Cartoons, propaganda and the words children learn

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ONE OF THE recent additions to TG4’s children’s programming is Scéalta Masha, an Irish translation of Masha’s Stories which is a spin-off of the popular cartoon Masha and the Bear.

If you are child-free, you may not have heard of this show. It’s arguably Russia’s biggest pop culture export since Tetris – one episode is the fourth most popular YouTube video of all time.

Although the capering of an excitable little girl and the kind, sensible bear who takes care of her seems harmless enough at first glance, this show is actually banned in Ukraine and other former Soviet countries due to concerns that it is Russian propaganda.

Academics across Eastern Europe have argued that the series is a part of Russia’s soft power. Some go as far to suggest that the unstoppable little girl is a Putin stand-in and that her bear protector is a symbol of Russia itself.

He is, after all, wise, resourceful, cultured but unpretentious,........

© TheJournal