6 Most Popular Russian Fairy Tale Characters

We are all grown up with the characters of some fairy tales, myths, and fables such as Snow White, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Bambi, Peter Pan, Baba Yaga, and Rapunzel. However, things are bound to change when we become adults because we start having more responsibilities, so we have to grow up and somehow throw those fairy tales out of the window. We are not supposed to do that by the way. Why is that? It is because not only are fairy tales timeless, they can also offer both consult and entertainment for every generation including adults.

In this article, I already compiled a list of 6 most popular Russian fairy tale characters both protagonists and antagonists. Check it out.

1. Baba Yaga the Witch

Baba Yaga is a very controversial character for she is not particularly good, but is not entirely evil either because she cannot be portrayed as a good elderly woman or a very easy-going person. In most Russian folk tales, she is portrayed as an antagonist, a wicked witch. There are tales in which she likes to kidnap children and threaten to eat them. There are also tales where she tells false information to strangers who were unfortunate enough to lose their way in the deep wood she resides. However, there are some characters in other folk tales who have been known to approach her for wisdom and advice, and Baba Yaga has been known on some occasions to provide guidance to lost souls, help them with their quests, although this is considered a rare event because seeking out her help is usually deemed as a dangerous act.

2. Kikimora the Destroyer of Households

There are various characters of Kikimora; the Kikimora who lives in the forest, the Kikimora who lives in the swamp, and the Kikimora who lives in the field. But most of all, Kikimora enjoys living in human homes where they can bring all kinds of household problem. Kikimora is an evil spirit which usually remains invisible to the naked eyes. If Kikimora stays in one’s home, it will bring the owners nightmares, breaks furniture, and drives their pets crazy.

Kikimora’s favorite pastime is spinning yarn. It likes to tear up the yarn and entangle up the wool. Sometimes, Kikimora shows itself before people and if this is the case, then surely misfortune will wait for whoever sees the evil spirit, for example, a death in the family. A sorcerer is believed to be able to take possession of Kikimora, place it into a ceremonial doll, and abandon it somewhere else. There is a Russian superstition that says you can ward the Kikimora off of your house with juniper branches and sagebrush.


3. Emma the Frog Princess

Emma, also known as Esmeralda, lives in a castle at the edge of a pungent swamp. She is the perfect wife of Prince Ivan Tsarevitch, loyal and thrifty, clever and beautiful, sensible and resourceful. She also has a knack for magic arts and has an army of nannies working for her. She tells them to always be ready and assist her in even seemingly impossible situation. There is, however, one shortfall. Her powerful father asks her to change her appearance into a frog for three years and is compelled to stay in that form to her betrothed Prince Ivan Tsarevitch.

Her fairy tale has the totality of magical elements. In the tale, there is a ritual, as the prince finds the frog princess with the aid of an arrow; there is the defying of rules, the prince burns the frog princess’ skin and consequently loses his beloved wife. In penalty for his infringement, he is assigned a trial which he must undergo, in order to get the frog princess back again.


4. Koshchei the Deathless

If you live in Russia, you must have known of Koshchei the deathless, the most terrifying character from Russian fairy tales. His name Koshchei means “bone” which indicates that Koshchei is skinny in his form. Most people see him as the embodiment of God of Death or an evil wizard that has the ability to cause death and frost to people who go against him.

In various Russian fairy tales, Koshchei is seen as a powerful wizard with a cunning mind and ill intentions. In some version of those fairy tales, he turns his enemies into a walnut or even turns the entire kingdoms into stone. He builds his activity around young and beautiful girls, particularly those who are noble, where he tries to lure them and win their hearts with his spell or even brute force. If he faces failure and becomes the rage, he curses those girls in the animal form such as frogs, snakes, and so on.

5. The Firebird

The Firebird is like a phoenix, a miraculous bird whose feathers shines with fiery, red colors. The bird travels secretly by night and few people actually have the chance to witness its mysterious whereabouts. It is often mentioned in fairy tales and myths of all the Russian people such as “Prince Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf”, “The Firebird and the Horse of Power”, and many others, making it the most popular character among the others. The Firebird is usually the cause for sending heroes or main characters to great adventures, but is sometimes heroic itself, for it can generate pearls from its beak for the poor peasants.

6. Vasilisa the Fair

Vasilisa is a beautiful daughter of a merchant. Her mother died and thus, she has to live with her evil stepmother. She is often depicted as sweet and kind but gets into a lot of hassles, especially with Baba Yaga the witch. Lucky for her as she is helped in her journey by a doll her late mother left her.

So, those are the 6 most popular Russian fairy tale characters. Which one of those characters can you relate to the most?

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