niffiwan (niffiwan) wrote,

How to find and download Russian animation

LAST UPDATED: February 18, 2008

A great deal of Russian animation can be found on the internet. With a little bit of effort, you too can download high-quality versions of Russian animated films (I'm not advocating anything illegal, for there are a great many legal ways you can do this).

Part 1: Free low-quality films (and high-quality for a price)

Here's one site to take a look at:

Memocast is a Western site which allows you to freely watch low-quality versions of a great many Russian cartoons, many of them with English subtitles. Every few minutes, a short commercial comes on, and then the film resumes. You can also buy a high-quality version of any film for a typical price of $1.99, or buy a month-long membership, which allows you to watch the lower-quality versions of the films with no commercial breaks.

Many of their films seem to be licensed from the American company Films by Jove. Most notably, they have all of the films from the Animated Soviet Propaganda collection, including some incredibly rare stuff from the early 1920s and 1930s that you won't find anywhere else online. For example, one of the first Soviet animated films, China in Flames, Khodataev's Little Music Box, or The Boy from Samoyed (1928, about an Eskimo boy exposing the tricks of the tribe's Shaman).

Besides these public domain films, they also have other films, even some which are quite new. It's not completely clear how sound their legal footing is (see: Films by Jove controversy), but that's their problem to sort out, not ours. :p

One thing to note - they seem to block people living in Russia from seeing any of their films.


Plenty of Russian animation can also be found on Youtube and Google Video; just go over there and search for "Russian animation", "Russian cartoon", "Soviet animation", etc.

Searching on Google Video shows results from both Youtube and Google Video. If you want to see only GV results, put "" (without quotation marks) before the search keywords.

------ has a large collection of films which have premiered at the animation festival in Suzdal OVER HERE. No subtitles, but some of them don't need any. I'd say that about 2/3rds of the films which have premiered in Suzdal recently can be seen there, and more are always being added.

There are also some films by the studio Master-film OVER HERE. There might be other users, too.

Part 2: Finding and downloading high-quality films

(note: if you don't care about the legalities, you can scroll down a little)

Now, before you do this, you may want to read about the laws governing public domain in your country. In Russia itself, a great many films are in the public domain. The Russian Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography has a list of all Russian films in the public domain over here. Basically, it seems to be anything made prior to and including 1954 (I guess only surviving films are listed). If you have the Russian name of your film but aren't sure how to find it, the order of the Russian alphabet is:

There are also a great many films which are not in the public domain, but cannot be bought anywhere (similar to abandonware). They show up on Russian TV once in a blue moon, and that's about it; if someone from outside Russia wishes to see them the only way would be to download them. It would still be illegal, I think, but it would probably be a lesser offence than downloading films which have an active copyright holder in your country (and hey, it's not like the organizations that make these rules don't break them themselves when it suits them - see DVD region codes). :p

Anyway, here are two websites and how to use them:

Although this one doesn't have the large selection of films that the one below does, it has one big advantage: you can download from it at any time of the day.

Here's what you do:
1) Pick a film from the list, then click скачать ("download").
2) The first time you do this, you'll be taken to this page to familiarize you with the rules. Scroll down to the bottom and click on this button to signify that you've read them:

3) Install a download manager, if you don't have one already; if you download with your browser, you'll frequently be left with only a part of a file and will be forced to start again many times. It's very frustrating, so don't do it. Choose one from here (I use Free Download Manager - FDM - myself and think it's great).
4) Here are the settings you must enter into your download manager (you won't be able to download anything unless you follow these rules, and you'll be blocked for 20+ minutes if you keep breaking them):
a. No more than one connection from one adress (max. connections: 1)
b. Turn on the referrer (in the Free Download Manager, you do this by checking "Use HTTP 1.1")
c. Turn on the use of cookies
d. Set maximum speed to 16kb/s (limit the speed - this rule only applies if you are not located in Russia, which you probably are not)
e. Set maximum number of attempts to 50
f. Set the pause between connection attempts to 10 seconds

You can view your personal stats and the server stats over here.

5) Now you can safely download anything from the website (which is in the public domain, of course). I don't know how this works for every download manager, but for FDM in Windows you simply right-click on the link and click "download with Free Download Manager".


Arjlover has a much wider selection of films, but with the added restriction that users from outside Russia can only download films from 4-10am Moscow time (if you're in North America, this translates to late evening). HOWEVER, they also provide an ED2K link for every film, which is open to everyone round-the-clock. My own ED2K speeds are generally slower than 16kb/s, so I find it faster to download from arjlover directly.

Here's a rundown of the website:

Columns: #, Name, File size, Resolution, Runtime, ED2K, Description

The yellow things at the top are films which were recently added.

You can click on the links under the "resolution" column ("720x544", etc.)to see a page with some screenshots from the film.

You can sort the films either by their Russian name in alphabetical order (default), by their file name (this may be easier if you only know the transcribed Russian name from IMDB), or by the date that they were added. The two links in the upper right-hand corner of the page allow you to change the sorting method.
"сортировать по дате" = "sort by date"
"сортировать по именам файлов" = "sort by file name"

If there is a link on the right-hand column, it means that the film is Russian or from a former Soviet republic. If there is nothing or a country name, it either means that it is a non-Soviet film which was widely known in the Soviet Union (or was made by Russian animators who emigrated in another country), or that it is not strictly an animated film and therefore doesn't have an entry at (for example, it could be puppet theatre). The link goes to the film's entry on, where you can see see when it was made and if it has been released on any DVDs (by scrolling down). You can also see the English version of the entry by clicking on the flag in the upper-right corner.

Here are the rules for downloading from Arjlover (they're mostly the same as the ones above, I'll only mention the differences):

e. Set maximum number of attempts to 300 (absolute maximum; 120 is recommended)
f. Set the pause between connection attempts to 30 seconds (absolute minimum; 60 is recommended)
g. Turn off the setting which makes the download start automatically; start them all manually

Of course, if you're planning on downloading from both websites, you can just set e. to 50 and f. to 30; that'll make them both happy.

And that's it. If anybody's having trouble or you have any suggestions for how to improve this guide (to make it more understandable or if I missed something), please leave a comment.
Tags: arjlover, downloading, films by jove, history, memocast

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