From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
The Pokémon franchise first reached Russia in December of 2000, when Покемон! Я выбираю тебя! premiered. In Cyrillic script, Pokémon is written as Покемон and its plural is Покемоны pokemony.
First wave of Pokémon in Russia
Pokémon was originally brought over to Russia by Sargona Ltd., which sold English-language cards from the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The Pokémon anime was first shown on ORT (now known as Channel One), which is the main television station in Russia.
The rights to the series were purchased in early 2000 and episodes began to appear by December of the same year. The Russian translation of the anime, which was conducted by the Kievan Pilot Studio, is based on the English dub. The Russian version of the anime retains all of the English character names to match the Pokémon TCG cards that had been already released.
While the translation quality of the Russian dub is considered to be high by most fans, a few changes had been made. For example, some locations had slightly different names, such as Dark City being retitled Мрачный Город. However, the lyrics to Pokémon Theme were later retranslated and used in the last episodes of Indigo League. Any episodes of the anime which were banned in the United States were also banned in Russia.
In an interview with Afisha magazine, the management director of children's programming on ORT, Sergey Suponev, assured viewers in the harmlessness of Pokémon:
«Our plan to broadcast this show can be called madness by someone. There was a lot of noise around this series all over the world. In fact, it is a pretty harmless thing. A sweet story about a boy who saves animals and teaches them to fight for justice. And there are bad guys who want to send them to the zoo for lots of money - that's all there is to be scandalous.»
Within a day of the anime's television premiere, the management of public relations of ORT had invited journalists and children from an Otradnoye shelter to a Rolan cinema for a presentation of the series. The children received the presentation well, and then took a quiz organized by ORT.
The last episode shown on ORT: Charizard Chills
From December 18, 2000 to January 25, 2001, the anime was broadcasted by ORT. In February 5, 2001 they began to show the series again until August 2001. The last episode to air on ORT was Charizard Chills. 104 episodes of the original series were shown.
After this, the Pokémon anime was not aired in Russia for seven years. Many fans wrote to TV channels asking them to air the anime, but the only appearance of Pokémon on Russian TV was the airing of The Power of One and Pokémon 4Ever on ORT at 6:00 am.
Many rumors have circulated in speculation of why ORT stopped airing the anime, including:
- A Japanese channel may have shown an offensive video about Russia. This has been unproven.
- Some believe that ORT canceled the show because Sergey Suponev, the director of children's programming of ORT, died in a snowmobile accident, and the new director supposedly did not like Pokémon.
- Others believe that Russian newspapers and the yellow press pressured the station to cancel the show. Some reported that Pokémon was causing epileptic seizures, others wrote that Pokémon "brainwashes children" with subliminal stimuli. ORT didn't want its reputation to fall, so they stopped airing Pokémon.
- ORT and the Japanese creators of the anime couldn't make an agreement on the price of licensing the anime.
The return of Pokémon
On September 20, 2008 TNT, another Russian channel, premiered the first episode of the Diamond & Pearl series. The tenth season was shown fully.
Pokémon has also recently aired on Jetix. Unlike TNT, both the tenth season and Battle Dimension have been aired fully.
On August 10, 2010, when Jetix-Russia was replaced by the Disney Channel, the airing of Pokémon was finished for the second time. However, the Russian version of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles had been aired on Disney Channel Ukraine.
On February 3, 2012, Russian version of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles started on TNT. By the end of 2012, twelfth and thirteenth seasons of the anime were shown fully.
On November 6, 2012, simultaneously with two last, the Russian version of the 14th season Pokémon: Black & White started on TNT and has been aired fully.
As of 2013, there were no plans for airing the two remaining seasons of the series on TNT or any other Russian channel, creating a hiatus in airings of the anime.
The hiatus was broken on March 12, 2014, when 2×2, the Russian channel, which specializes on teenager-oriented animated series signed a five-year contract with Pokémon Company International to broadcast the anime. The series started with airing Pokémon: Black & White on May 1 to 11, 2014. On May 12, 2014, Pokémon Black & White: Rival Destinies began to run on 2×2. This season marks the total localization of the anime. The season logo, the episode title card, and the name of the eyecatch Pokémon are all written in Russian.
The sixteenth season of the anime Pokémon Black & White: Adventures in Unova premiered on July 18, 2014.
The seventeenth season of the anime, Pokémon the Series: XY premiered on Saturday, September 20, 2014.
Since May 17, 2015 the eighteenth season Pokémon the Series: XY Kalos Quest is aired on 2×2. Besides, the channel introduced the Advanced Generation series airing the first episode on May 18, 2015.
In Russia the anime is available on Netflix.
The nineteenth season Pokémon the Series: XYZ will air on 2×2 on July 3, 2016.
Aside for the anime series, the movies were translated too, but they were dubbed by different studios. Mewtwo Strikes Back, The Power of One, The Spell of Unown: Entei, as well as their respective Pikachu shorts were dubbed; later, dubs were made of Celebi: The Voice of the Forest, Jirachi: Wish Maker, and Destiny Deoxys. All those movies were officially released on DVD and VHS.
Giratina and the Sky Warrior was aired on Jetix. The Russian dub of Zoroark: Master of Illusions was released on the Polish DVD release of the movie. 
2×2 got the airing license for movies connected to the Best Wishes series. Black—Victini and Reshiram was shown on June 12, 2014. However, White—Victini and Zekrom was not aired. Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice and Genesect and the Legend Awakened were broadcast on September 20, 2014. Lucario and the Mystery of Mew first premiered in Russian during Nintendo Level Up Day on November 27, 2014.
Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction aired on May 17, 2015.
Hoopa and the Clash of Ages will air on 2×2 on July 3, 2016.
Cast and crew
Pilot Studio dub
Ash Ketchum had been voiced by Anna Leshchenko (Анна Лещенко). Tatiana Zinovenko (Татьяна Зиновенко) had given her voice to Misty and Jessie. Anatolii Zinovenko (Анатолий Зиновенко) was the voice of James, Professor Oak, Giovanni, and the narrator. Dmitrii Zavadskii (Дмитрий Завадский) was the voice of Gary Oak, Meowth, Brock, and Tracey.
SDI Media dub
Larisa Nekipelova (Лариса Некипелова) has been voicing Ash and Cynthia. Dawn had been voiced by Olga Shorohova (Ольга Шорохова). She has also given her voice to Kenny, Bianca, and Burgundy. Alexander Kovrizhnih (Александр Коврижных) was the voice of Brock. Zhanna Nikonova (Жанна Никонова) is the voice of Iris and Professor Juniper. Cilan and Volkner are voiced by Diomid Vinogradov (Диомид Виноградов). Darja Frolova (Дарья Фролова) has given her voice to Jessie,
Delia Ketchum, Georgia, and the Sinnoh Pokédex. Unova Pokédex, James, Barry, and Nando have been voiced by Evgenii Valtz (Евгений Вальц). Dmitrii Filimonov (Дмитрий Филимонов) has given his voice to Meowth and Looker. Andrei Simanov (Андрей Симанов) had been voicing Professor Oak, Paul, and the narrator. Later on, his roles were taken by Peter 'Glanz' Ivashenko (Пётр 'Гланц' Иващенко). Peter has also given his voice to Giovanni and Stephan. Natalia Tereshkova (Наталья Терешкова) voices Serena, Alexandr Dasevich (Александр Дасевич) takes on Clemont, and Maria Ivashenko (Мария Иващенко) lends her voice to Bonnie.
Some episodic roles are voiced by Alexei Kostrichkin (Алексей Костричкин), Natalya Kaznacheeva (Наталья Казначеева), Daniil Eldarov (Даниил Эльдаров), Alexander Voronov (Александр Воронов), and Alexander Gavrilin (Александр Гаврилин).
At first, Nintendo handheld consoles were not very popular in Russia and Pokémon games were rarely found in shops. The games were distributed by "Noviy Disc", Nintendo's official distributor between 2006 and 2011, and games would usually become available long after the European release and at a more substantial cost. This situation changed when Nintendo of Europe opened its office in Russia; they stopped working with "Noviy Disk" and began working with a new distributor named "OCS", and Nintendo opened their own online store. 3DS games were then available for sale on the official store Mir Nintendo, though they may also be found elsewhere. Pokémon X and Y were the first Pokémon games to be released in Russia at the same time as the rest of the world due to the introduction of the Nintendo online store. Pokémon video games are not localized in Russian; however, there have been a few fan translations of the GBA games circulating among Russian fans.
Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is the only Pokémon game translated to Russian so far, with only some older and some cards not yet released in Russia being left in English.
Pokémon Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game was released in Russia, and obtained "the same cult status" as it did in Britain. The Russian government attempted to ban or, in the least, censor the game in late 2001-2002, but it seems that this was not carried through.
The Trading Card Game was evidently released in English, as the government wanted the cards to be translated into Russian as part of the censorship.
When the anime stopped airing, the Pokémon Trading Cards stopped releasing as well.
The Pokémon Trading Card Game returned to Russia when they were distributed along with toys in Happy Meals in Russian McDonald's in January 2012.
The Pokémon Trading Card Game: XY went on sale in Russia on October 6, 2014. It was the first Pokémon Trading Card Game expansion in Russia since the original Base Set.
There is a lot of Pokémon merchandise, which used to be especially popular during the airing of the anime on ORT. Toys, playing cards (not Trading Card Game ones), official magazines, pogs, clothes, and other merchandise found a quick sale. In 2001, PepsiCo had released its drinks with stereoscopic screenshots of the anime placed on the bottles' caps — these caps are highly valued as collectibles among Russian fans. The Official Pokémon Handbook and the The Official Pokémon Handbook 2 by Maria Barbo were translated and released under the name "The Manual of the Pokémon Champion" and "The Manual of the Pokémon Champion II" respectively.
- Some episodes dubbed by Pilot Studio were based on the Polish version instead of the English dub. This is why Pallet Town and Viridian City are called "Alabastia" and "Vertania". Also, there was a dub error in EP003 where Polish words can be heard.
- Anastasiya Fomicheva, the actress who voiced Dawn in S10, is registered at the Russian Pokémon League.
- Pilot Studio also dubbed the Pokémon anime in Ukrainian with the same actors.
- In non-English material in Russia, English names are used for Pokémon and characters, but transcribed into Cyrillic characters.
- ↑ Katalog produktów - Film studio (Internet Archive)
- ↑ Nintendo Level Up Day
- ↑ Barbie is banned from Russia, without love | World news | The Observer (retrieved May 5, 2010)
- ↑ Third Episode in Russian (retrieved September 16, 2014)
- ↑ http://pokeliga.com/users/profile.php?user=%C4%EE%F3%ED (retrieved May 18, 2015)