Russian Library Spells Out Jail Terms for Folk Heroes

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – A library in Russia’s Cossack heartland added a dash of Kafka to classic Russian fairytales by spelling out how the main characters would be treated under today’s law, regional television reported.

The study was a presentation by the legal information center at the Pushkin Library in the southern Krasnodar Region for local college students, Channel Nine reported.

For example, forest-dwelling witch Baba Yaga could face up to five years behind bars on kidnapping charges over her habit of luring in and imprisoning traveling heroes, the channel reported late Thursday.

Worse still, she let one hero know the secret of how to kill evil overlord Tsar Koshchei the Deathless, which would qualify her for 20 years in prison on treason charges, the library said.

It turns out the good guys are just as bad: for example, one tsar who sent his son Ivan Tsarevich, a classic folklore hero, on a quest to find the apples of youth deserves 10 years of jailtime for instigating the theft of valuables.

They can share the cell for two years, which is what the son deserves for kidnapping a princess along the way, the report said.

The channel did not say which fairy tales had been used, but plot details identified them as coming from the classic collection Russian Fairy Tales, first published in 1855-1863 by folklorist Alexander Afanasyev. The collection was modeled on that produced by the Brothers Grimm and enjoys comparable popularity in Russia to this day.

No cases were opened based on any of the incidents mentioned in the presentation, Channel Nine reassured its viewers.


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