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 and is fully inflected.
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Reason: Which seasons were dubbed by Pilot Studio and which ones by SDI Media, and if there is any consistency between them or not.
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 Kievian 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 Mrachnyy Gorod. 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.
- 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 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, the Russian version of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl: Galactic Battles started on TNT. By the end of 2012, the 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.
On May 17, 2015, the eighteenth season, Pokémon the Series: XY Kalos Quest, aired on 2×2. Besides, the channel introduced the Advanced Generation series airing the first episode on May 18, 2015.
The nineteenth season, Pokémon the Series: XYZ, aired on 2×2 on July 3, 2016.
In Russia, the anime is available on Netflix, except in Crimea due to U.S. sanctions prohibiting Netflix from operating in Crimea.
On August 20, 2017, the twentieth season, Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, aired on 2x2.
On September 15, 2018, the first five episodes of the twenty-first season, Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon—Ultra Adventures, were released on Russian Pokémon TV, but for some reason, 2x2 didn't air them on television. Pokémon TV currently releases five new episodes each month.
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 aired on 2×2 on July 3, 2016.
Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel aired on 2×2 on August 19, 2017.
Cast and crew
Pilot Studio dub
The Pilot Studio dub was produced in Kiev, Ukraine. It covered EP001 through EP105.
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/Arc-TV dub
From 2010 to 2013, then-recent series and movies have been dubbed by Arc-TV Studio by the order of SDI Media Group. Since 2014, they are dubbed on the founded SDI Media Russia studio.
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). Later on, the role of James has been taken by Sergey Smirnov (Сергей Смирнов). 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 Bonnie (later this role was taken by Anastasia Lapina (Анастасия Лапина)), Alexandr Dasevich (Александр Дасевич) takes on Clemont, and Maria Ivaschenko (Мария Иващенко) lends her voice to Serena.
In Sun and Moon series, the voices of Ash, Team Rocket and the narrator return. Vasilisa Voronina (Василиса Воронина) voices Mallow, Maria Ivaschenko (Мария Иващенко) takes on Lillie, Alena Sozinova (Алёна Созинова) is the voice of Lana, Kiawe is voiced by Ivan Kalinin (Иван Калинин), Tatiana Shitova (Татьяна Шитова) takes on Sophocles, Daniil Eldarov (Даниил Эльдаров) voices Professor Kukui, Andrey Barhudarov (Андрей Бархударов) takes on Samson Oak, and Prohor Chekhovskoy (Прохор Чеховской) is the voice of Rotom Pokedex.
Some episodic roles at Arc-TV were voiced by Alexei Kostrichkin (Алексей Костричкин), Natalya Kaznacheeva (Наталья Казначеева), Daniil Eldarov (Даниил Эльдаров), Alexander Voronov (Александр Воронов), Alexander Gavrilin (Александр Гаврилин), Mikhail Tikhonov (Михаил Тихонов) and others. At SDI Media Russia, roles are frequently voiced by Andrey Grinevich (Андрей Гриневич), Ilya Hvostikov (Илья Хвостиков), Olga Zubkova (Ольга Зубкова), Oleg Kucenko (Олег Куценко), Vladimir Antonik (Владимир Антоник), Alexander Gruzdev (Александр Груздев), Olga Zvereva (Ольга Зверева), Tatiana Veselkina (Татьяна Весёлкина), Denis Nekrasov (Денис Некрасов) and others.
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 signed with this company in 2000 a contract for the sale of games for 6 years. Cooperation went so well that in 2006 it was decided to extend the contract for the next 6 years.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 in 2012; 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.
The TCG has since been translated under the name Покемон ККИ Pokémon KKI, though released later then in the west.
The expansion Steam Siege (TCG) was the last expansion to be translated. All of the Sun & Moon expansions until Forbidden Light and Ultra Prism were distributed untranslated.
On September 3, 2018, Nintendo Russia CEO Yasha Haddaji created a post in the official group "Мир Pokémon", that stated the end of TCG's distribution in Russia.
Pokémon and grammar
The word покемон Pokémon as well as the names for each Pokémon are fully inflected in Russian. Покемон is written in lowercase when referring to the species and is written in uppercase or uses Pokémon when referring to the series as a whole. Individual Pokémon and character names are often the English name transcribed into the Cyrillic alphabet or derived closely from their English name; for example, Bulbasaur becomes Бульбазавр Bul'bazavr.
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.