After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the timing appeared perfect to bring Sesame Street to millions of children living in
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the timing appeared perfect to bring Sesame Street to millions of children living in the former Soviet Union. With the Muppets envisioned as ideal ambassadors of Western idealistic values, no one anticipated just how challenging and dangerous this would prove to be. In Muppets in Moscow, Natasha Lance Rogoff brings the story to life.
Natasha Lance Rogoff, a young American TV producer fluent in Russian, was chosen to lead a crew of hundreds of American and Russian artists, producers, educators, writers, and puppeteers to create the Russian adaptation of Sesame Street. Against the backdrop of bombings and the assassination of her Russian broadcast partners, Lance Rogoff and the team remained determined to bring laughter, learning, and a new way of seeing the world to children in Russia and across the former Soviet empire.
In her book, she illuminates how cultural clashes imbued nearly every aspect of the production, from the show’s educational framework to scriptwriting to the new Russian Muppets themselves, often pitting Sesame Street’s Western values against nearly four centuries of Russian thought. In spite of the challenges, the show went on to become a major hit, airing for over a decade.
Muppets in Moscow explores post-Soviet societal tensions that continue to thwart the Russian people’s efforts to create a better future for their country. More than just a story of a children’s show, it provides a valuable perspective about Russia’s people, their culture, and their complicated relationship with the West that remains more relevant than ever today.