From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
The Pokémon franchise first reached Russia in December of 2000, when first episode was 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.
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. There is an information that Anime World Studio is currently making dub of second and third seasons for an unannounced TV channel, the premiere is being planned for the autumn of 2012.
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, as well as their respective Pikachu Shorts, also, there are dubs 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, also, the Russian dub of Zoroark: Master of Illusions was revealed to be on Polish DVD release of this movie.
Cast and crew
Pilot Studio dub
Ash Ketchum had been voiced by Anna Lescchenko (Анна Лещенко). Tatiana Zinovenko (Татьяна Зиновенко) had given her voice to Misty. Anatolii Zinovenko (Анатолий Зиновенко) is the voice of James and Professor Oak. Dmitrii Zavadskii (Дмитрий Завадский) is the voice of Gary Oak, Meowth, Brock and Tracey.
Dawn had been voiced by Anastasiya Fomicheva (Анастасия Фомичева).
Since Nintendo handheld consoles are not popular in Russia, Pokémon games can be rarely found in shops/ The games were distributed by New Disc, Nintendo's official distributor, and usually games became available with great delay after the European release, but it had been changed when Nintendo opened its office in Russia. All Pokémon video games are sold in English, however, there have been few fan translations of the games circulating among Russian fans. The games have been translated and sold by pirates as well, although these translations contain notoriously poor grammar.
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.
In January 2012, Pokémon Trading Cards were distributed along with toys in Happy Meals in Russian McDonald's.
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, 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 transliterated into Cyrillic characters (as is the case with the Pokémon logo, above).