The satirical magazine Krokodil enjoyed incredible popularity in the Soviet Union. In the best years, its circulation reached 6, 500, 000 copies, such well-known writers in the USSR as Mikhail Zoshchenko, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov, Valentin Kataev published their works in Krokodil. "Crocodile" was often called the satirical mouthpiece of the CPSU. The magazine made fun of bribe-takers, bureaucrats, parasites, and drunks. It came out three times a month, each new issue was a real treat for readers.
The history of this popular publication dates back to June 4, 1922. It was on this day that a satirical supplement to the daily "Rabochaya Gazeta" was published. Initially it was called the "Supplement", and the initiator of its release, and the first editor, was Konstantin Stepanovich Eremeev - an old Bolshevik, military leader and journalist.
The very name "Application" was too boring for a humorous publication, therefore, soon a young employee Sergey Gessen suggested the original version of the name - "Crocodile". The idea was approved. Despite the abundance of humorous publications in the twenties, "Crocodile" quickly became popular in the country, only six months have passed since the first issue, and the circulation was already 150, 000 copies. Not every magazine has had such a success.
The main task of "Crocodile" was formulated by the proletarian poet Demyan Bedny: "To get to all rot and stir up rot without any mercy." Initially, the magazine was supposed to be weekly, but after a few years it was decided to reduce the issue to three issues per month. It was this frequency that persisted for many years.
The main attention of the editors in the first years of the release of "Crocodile" was directed to the shortcomings of the post-revolutionary reconstruction of the country. The authors exposed those who remained committed to the old way of life. Krokodil's special correspondents carried out regular raids on Soviet institutions, factories, factories and construction sites.
Moreover, in 1935, the ANT-9 "Crocodile" propaganda aircraft was manufactured, which became part of the Maxim Gorky Agitation Squadron. The plane was adorned with a decorative crocodile nose and fearsome teeth. Now the Krokodil journalists were able to fly to the most remote corners of the Soviet Union. During the several pre-war years, the Agitation Squadron made hundreds of flights, about 3, 000 meetings and 5, 000 lectures and reports were held.
Maxim Gorky himself, whose name the Agitasquadril bore, often met with the staff of the Krokodil magazine, and he also expressed critical remarks. In particular, the proletarian writer expressed the opinion that the Soviet satirical magazine should pay more attention to such an issue as comparing the world of socialism and capitalism, to expose the bourgeois West.
The publication of the magazine did not stop during the years of the Great Patriotic War, which had a huge impact on the subject matter of the publication. On the pages of Krokodil, cartoons of the fascist conquerors were regularly printed. It published such famous cartoonists as Boris Efimov, Konstantin Eliseev, Kukryniksy. Many journalists who published in "Crocodile" went to the front, from where they continued to send their works to the magazine.
In 1948, the magazine was criticized again. In particular, it was noted that many materials are divorced from real life, there is no exactingness to the ideological level of works. The "Crocodile" also got it for its unattractive appearance. The design of the magazine was indeed far from ideal, due to the limited capabilities of the printing press, one side was full color, and the other was black and white.
The Central Committee of the party instructed the editorial board to improve both the content of the magazine and its appearance, expand communication with the people, publish readers' appeals to the editorial board and immediately respond to them. Soon in "Crocodile" new headings appeared: "We inform the addresses", "From the printed", "Crocodile's photo display". The editorial office received thousands of letters from readers every month.
The popularity of "Crocodile" reached its peak during the years of perestroika, at the end of the eighties. It was then that its circulation exceeded six million copies. But the nineties became a difficult period for the legendary satirical magazine. Already in 1992 "Crocodile" began to appear not three times a month, as before, but only once. One could not even dream of the former circulation, it was only 50, 000 copies.
In 2000, the magazine was closed due to financial problems. Later, several attempts were made to revive it with the name "New Crocodile", but, as practice has shown, the best years of the most famous satirical publication in the USSR are in the past.