Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said on March 29 that Soviet-era cartoons nurtured moral values in children and helped make them kinder people.
"We are a special country," he said in an emotional speech to the upper house of parliament. "We have much kindness, we have values that don't exist in other countries."
He did not specify what those values were.
Nurgaliyev's plea was strongly backed by Russian children's ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, who urged parents to steer their kids away from boy wizards and other Western television heroes.
"With all due respect to Harry Potter, we have our own heroes. Our hero is Ivan Tsarevich," he said, referring to a hero of Russian folklore who appears in a number of Soviet-era cartoons. (Watch below)
While the unrivaled quality of Soviet cartoons justly continues to draw the admiration of animation buffs around the world, the recent calls to boycott Western cartoons have struck many Russians as somewhat over the top.
As one LiveJournal user writes, "Sacrilege, they want to take Tom and Jerry away from our children!"
-- Claire Bigg