Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Graphic Literature

The Only True Guide to Russia

Hidden Secrets Revealed

By Ilia Kitup
Translated from Russian by the author
These underground comics from the Russia of the 1990s, just after the Soviet Union dissolved, capture the sense of mingled freedom and foreboding that characterized that era.
No Secrets
1: “Everyone who has never been to Russia is well aware of the fact…”
2: “…That gypsies stroll there along the streets leading a bear on the chain. But no one knows that…”
3: “These bears are artificial and controlled remotely!
Father Frost
1: “Everybody has heard or read about Russian frosts…”
2: “…That last sometimes all year long and cover the earth with 10 metres layer of snow. That’s true. But not everybody knows that these frosts…”
3: “…are created by gigantic refrigerators hidden in Kremlin cellars!!!!!”
Rome #3
1: "They say: Moscow is the third Rome. It looks like that. The buildings are gigantic..."
2: "In Latin it sounds nicely: Christus Salvator"
3: "Petrus Primus... Moscow really is the third Rome and there'll never be a fourth one!"
What Moscow Can Be
1: “Moscow can be very different. It can be official…”
2: “…informal…” “unofficial…”
3: “…and it can be absolutely unofficial!”
Your Papers!
1: “Where are you going to? Your papers!”
2: no speech.
3: If I paint my hair blond, they would stop me anyway…
Total Underground
1: “The Moscow Underground leads you to Moscow River…”
2: “…to Yauza River, to Kremlin and wherever else…” “And lately…”
3: “I’ve happened to find a way to the Moon.”
Drinking Habits
1: “Do you know why the Moscovites drink so much?”
2: Man 1: “Because beer is liquid bread!” Man 2: “And vodka kills the germs!” Man 3: “And wine saves from radiation!”
3: “Well, they just like it!” “And there is nothing else to add”
A Bells Story
1: TV: "Moscow! The bells toll!"
2: Man: "Hallo, Hallo! For whom the bell tolls?"
3: Phone: "Hold on... Hold on... Hold on... Hold on... It tolls for you."
Skies and Sea
1: “Moscow is a port of seven seas…”
2: “The spires of Moscow Towers dive into the clouds…”
3: “Sometimes I think I can reach the skies…and no sea would cover my bare knees!”

© Ilia Kitup. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2007 by Ilia Kitup.

Read Next