Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is one of the photos from the Ayvacik Friday Market selection, and the little girl in it is wearing a t-shirt with a Russian cartoon character Masyanya, wildly popular here just a few years ago - and still very fondly remembered.

I almost dropped my camera when I saw this girl: the market seemed like such a beautifully rural affair, so foreign, so distant from what I'm used to, and Ayvacik, unlike other parts of Turkey, isn't full of Russians at all - but here it was, part of our world, right in my face. I wouldn't have really paid attention to an I Love NY! t-shirt, or one featuring Walt Disney characters, but Masyanya!..


Masyanya is a tongue-in-cheek St. Petersburg girl, "a decent girl living in an indecent society." When I came to St. Pete for the first time in fall 2002, I expected all women there to be like her.

You can download and watch Masyanya archives here (in Russian, of course), at the site of Masyanya's creators, the Mult.ru studio.

There's also plenty of Masyanya-related stuff out there: screensavers and wallpaper for your desktops - here, and t-shirts, mugs, stickers and other merchandise - here.

And here's a St. Petersburg Times story on a copyright battle between Masyanya's creator, Oleg Kuvayev, and Muz-TV, "Russia’s home-grown clone of MTV." Among other things, the story says that Masyanya is "frequently described as Russia’s answer to 'Beavis and Butthead.'" I've never thought about her this way, somehow...

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