"Cipollino" the proletarian hero from Russia's 1992 "Characters from Children's
Books" stamp set smiles while his arch-enemy, Lord Tomato, rages in the background.
Complete "Characters from Children's Books" Set
On April 22, 1992 Russia issued a set of four stamps depicting characters from children's books. The 25 kopek depicts Pinocchio, the protagonist of Italian writer Carlo Collodi's children's novel written in 1883 that inspired Aleksandr Ptushko's 1939 live action and stop-motion animation film The Golden Key (Zolotoy Klyuchik). The 30 kopek features Cipollino (Little Onion), from Italian writer Gianni Rodari's 1951 story The Tale of Cipollino (Il romanzo di Cipollino) which the Soviets made into a feature animation in 1961. Dunno, the "Know-Nothing," created in 1954 by Soviet children's writer Nikolay Nosov (inspired by the Canadian writer Palmer Cox) appears on the 35 kopek denomination. The high value 50 kopek denomination features Karlson, a character from a series of children's books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren that was adapted for a cartoon series that became popular in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
The appeal of The Tale of Cipollino to Soviet authorities can be explained by the class consciousness of this anthropomorphic tale. Cipollino becomes the champion of his fellow vegetable townsfolk against oppression by the fruit royalty of the garden kingdom (Prince Lemon and the overly proud Lord Tomato). On the stamp, the cheerful demeanor of Cipollino in the foreground contrasts with the anger of Lord Tomato in the background. It is clear who the victor will be in the struggle of good against evil.
1956 Russian Cipollino post card sold for 20 kopek